Monday, October 25, 2010

A Day at the Races

A few weeks ago we went to the horse races.

I've never been to a horse race before but I was intrigued by the headwear.

So we went.

It was like going to a wedding in about 7 different ways.

First, everyone is very dressed up, not like you're going to a black tie evening wedding, but like you're going to an afternoon summer garden wedding.

Second, all the drinks are very posh, no beer in a plastic cup, it's champagne and wine and spirits, and fancy beers in bottles only. You can even buy champagne by the bottle! LOL, bottle service people, bottle service at a sporting event.

Oh, mind you we bought special "Carousel club" tickets, so we were in a separate tent than general admission, but anyone can buy these tickets they really weren't that special.

Third, there are seating "areas", like little couches and groups of chairs set up with umbrellas and what have you.

Fourth, heels in grass.

Fifth...alright I'm running out, but you get the picture.

Funny thing about the Carousel club. As we were getting ready in the morning, Dom pondered whether or not to wear a tie and ultimately decided on not. When we got there we discovered there is a dress code in the Carousel, guess what Dom had to be wearing??? that's right, a tie! So, rather than buy the $5 tie they had there for the sort like Dom who had chosen to not wear a tie, Dom argued the matter and managed to get away with no tie.

But...he continued to have security come up to him oh about once every half hour or so telling him that he needed to be wearing a tie. He had to go talk to the manager at least 3 times before they finally let the matter go. Good times.

So, there we were at the races, in Australia, in the Spring where it's supposed to be warm, right? Wrong! It was cold and drizzly and rainy and miserable! It felt like England. But there we were trying to enjoy ourselves in the miserable weather when suddenly it starts to downpour, unfortunately we were sitting out on the lawn with these flamingoes:

and the tent was a few yards away. So, rather than run across the grass risking serious injury (you know cause my heels could get stuck in the grass and I could go tumbling to the ground...or my hair could go flat from the rain...either way, serious injury!) we decided to hover under the umbrella that was conveniently next to us and what do you know, we ended up huddled with another couple. Right away we all start chatting, they've both lived in the States and London and picked up on our accents and away we went. We spent the whole day with our new friends as the boys took turns ordering bottles of champagne. That's right, bottles of champagne! It was a rather drunken affair....oh, that should be Number six up there for how the races are like a wedding.

Ultimately I had a really good time, but my favorite part of the whole day was the fascinators. Oh the fascinators! I love them. Mine was so tall I didn't fit in the car sitting up, that's right, I had to scrunch down in the seat and tilt my head a bit to keep my fascinator from hitting the top of the car. It reminded me of the stories about Marie Antoinette and the pouf and how their hair would be so tall that they would have to sit down on the floor of the carriage just so their hair would fit. What can I say, it was awesome. I wish I would have taken some piccies of the other girls fascinators, but that would have been weird of me, so I didn't. But, wow, there were some crazy ones.

Me and my fascinator.

Granted, I'm not a fan of the fascinator matching the dress, but whatever these ladies have awesome hats!

My New York friends are insisting that the fascinator is finally making it's way to the US, I can only hope that they will soon be standard fashion for weddings and other dressy occasions, and that you will be able to find these elaborate concoctions of loveliness at stores all over the US, but just to be safe I'm stocking up while I'm here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Time I Touched a Wallaby

A few months ago because we had nothing better to do we decided to go to the zoo. Ok and also because we'd seen on the news that a baby pygmy hippo had just been born and he looked sooo cute!

The Taronga Zoo here in Sydney is pretty tiny but pretty great.

First, you take a ferry there, which in and of itself makes it unique and starts the experience of right.

Second, you're very up close and personal with the animals, much like I was trying to describe at the Croc farm, if you really wanted to you could stick your hand in and touch the majority of the animals. Granted the big scary cats are behind glass, but everything else is right there next to you again with just signs that tell you if you stick your hand in and a goat bites you, it's your fault, you were warned.

There is also a really great view of the city from the zoo, specifically the giraffes have a primo piece of real estate.

See that? They have a view of the bridge!

They also, have a special "walkabout" section where they let you walk about with the animals...specifically Australian animals, like koalas, wallabys and kangaroos. It's very weird and very cool, I'm not sure how the animals don't escape, since all they have to keep them in is two sets of doors, one of which will not open until the other closes....but still!

That's me petting a wallaby.

Kangaroos just hangin' out.

Some random dude and his baby and a wallaby. See now if that wallaby decided that baby was threatening and decided to bite the baby, the zoo would totally blame it on the baby...i'm not kidding. They take their signs very seriously, if there's a sign saying something is dangerous, you better be careful!

The baby pygmy hippo! Isn't he cute?

Peacock with the biggest tail I've ever seen!

So, like I said, it's definitely not the biggest best zoo I've ever been to, but it was a unique experience.

And a little sidenote, because what's a good post without mentioning something random, the Oregon Ducks are KILLING UCLA right now and it's awesome. It's 53 - 6 as I'm typing and they're about to score another touchdown. WOW.

Go Ducks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Booktastic: The Sixth Wife

I told you I was on a Tudor kick and I wasn't joking. At least I veered away from Anne Boleyn for a little while and moved on to Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife.

The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn

Another book by Suzannah Dunn, I didn't even realize it was the same author as my last book until just now.


This book is fiction and takes place after Henry VIII has already died and Katherine Parr is left a very rich widow. She subsequently married Henry's third wife's brother, Thomas Seymour, who she supposedly had a thing for long before she met and married Henry. Ultimately he betrays her and she dies days after giving birth to his child from childbed fever.

The narration is from the point of view of the Duchess of Suffolk, which if you've ever watched HBO's The Tudors, she's the 14 year old wife of the Duke of Suffolk, who is yummy! On the show he is anyway, Henry Cavill = pretty.

Anyway, this is after the Duke has already died as well (he died before Henry VIII, so that would be obvious to history scholars, but I'm just gonna go ahead and assume that is probably NOT who's reading my blog, though you never know, history scholars could totally be interested in me talking about so the Duchess is a widow and the best friend of Katherine Parr. And a dirty cheating liar! In this book she has an affair with Katherine's husband Thomas, which I totally think is completely made up and bothered me a bit.

I think after reading and learning about the real history, these historical fiction novels have lost their luster a bit for me, so while this book has sparked a bit of interest for me in the real Katherine Parr, this historical fiction novel was not my favorite and not recommended.

I know I haven't liked the last few books that I've posted, but I promise I have some good ones coming up!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Planes, Trains...

After spending the weekend in Portland, we needed to get down to Eugene/Springfield where our house and my family are, which is a mere 102 miles away. Normally we would just fly directly to Eugene and my parents pick us up...easy peasy. This time because we flew into Portland we had to find a way down to Springfield. Of course we could always rent a car, but Dom REALLY wanted to take the we took the train.

Oh the train.

Now I have no problem with trains in general, but between the two of us we had 4 suitcases, a large box and 2 bags. No, we don't normally travel so heavy, but we were trying to get some of our crap in Australia back to the States because the more stuff we accumulate here the harder the move back is going to be in January.

So, onto the train we go and the train people laughed at us. They laughed at us because the train we were about to hop on starts in Seattle and goes all the way down to LA and takes like 20 hours or something like that, so it's a sleeper train, and we, with our 4 suitcases, 2 bags and box were going just 2 hours south.

Just 2 hours.

So, they laughed.

And Dom smiled.

The WHOLE time.

What can I say my husband loves a good train ride =)

He spent his time researching the train route (after discovering that it goes from Eugene down to San Francisco the smile got bigger and the train rides in my future increased about tenfold) wandering the different cars and trying to convince me that I was having fun as well.

I wasn't really.

It was just a train ride people, just a train.

But now apparently I've signed on for a 14 hour train ride from San Francisco to Eugene in the future. 14 hours!!! That's how long the plane trip to Sydney is. Do you know how long the plane trip from San Francisco to Eugene is? It's an hour and a half.

14 hour train ride vs 1.5 hour plane trip, the plane is gonna win every time in my book.

Maybe he'll forget.

Or maybe not, but a girl can hope!

Anyway, we made it to Eugene safely and quickly enough and finally got to see our new house!

And without further ado, here it is:

The driveway

Random little pasture at the foot of the driveway that is part of our 5 acres (the rest is trees really)

It's a really long driveway!

The house!

Inside, the front door and kitchen and you can see the loft a bit up above.

Wall o' windows!

Living Room/Fireplace

The loft/office nook

And master bedroom with skylight

There is also 2 other bedrooms besides this one, 2 bathrooms, a 2 car garage and the aforementioned 5 acres of land.

Please notice that the house is almost fully furnished...all of which was stored at my parents house for the last 5's pretty ridiculous.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Trip Home

For all intents and purposes Oregon is no longer my home and I don't consider it so. I left 5 years ago and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made (sorry Dad).

But alas, here I am with a house in not only Oregon, but my hometown of Springfield, Oregon (The Simpsons Springfield I swear). Accurately described by locals as Springtucky, as in it's a small town that wouldn't be out of place in Kentucky.

So, a month ago we started the long ass trip to the other side of the world.

We started with a stop in Portland, Oregon for 3 days. We chose to stay in Portland for a few days for 2 reasons:

1. We needed to get over our jetlag and figured it would be easier if we were somewhere that didn't require moving in to ie. our new house.

2. It was our 1 year anniversary that weekend and let's face it there just really aren't any nice restaurants in Eugene/Springfield, but Portland has 1, yes 1 fancy restaurant =)

We spent our time in Portland wandering around downtown in a bit of a daze striving to fight through the 17 hour time difference that our bodies were reminding us of and enjoying the last few days of summer and sunshine (in the northern hemisphere anyway, luckily we get to return back to the southern hemisphere where spring is just beginning!)

We encountered a fair amount of freaks that I must say I was shocked by. I know I didn't live in Portland for very long, but this was definitely not the Portland I remembered. Lo and behold there was an anime convention going on that weekend, called Kumoricon and all the fruitcakes we'd encountered we're just dressing up like their favorite anime one does when one is into such things.

Anyway, aside from the weird anime..ers or kumoriconers? we have a lovely anniversary weekend. We stayed at The Nines Hotel, which if Dom will let me I will totally be copying when I start decorating either the San Francisco house or the Oregon house. We made it through the jetlag, had our anniversary dinner at Portland's fanciest restaurant, Portland City Grill, which has a lovely view of the city from the 37th floor, and if you're ever in Portland and go to this restaurant, have the steak. I had salmon, which was absolutely delicious, but Dom's filet mignon was hands down the most amazing thing on that menu.

Sidenote about our anniversary dinner. I made a reservation at this restaurant at least a month ago. It was for 8pm on Sunday, September 5, which was the day before labor day, so it was a fairly busy night for the restaurant. We show up maybe 5 minutes early and while we're waiting for the hostess to finish up with the couple in front of us we hear her tell someone else on the staff that they're running right on time, NOT behind schedule. Then it's our turn and instead of seating us she tells us they're running a bit behind and would we mind having a drink at the bar. EVEN THOUGH SHE JUST SAID THEY WERE RUNNING ON SCHEDULE. Since it's our anniversary and we're in a good mood, the bar is beautiful and there's an awesome piano player that will play any song you want at the bar we decide not to point this out to her and just go with it. She hands us one of those lighted buzzer things and we go find a seat at the bar. About half an hour later still nothing from our buzzer and at this point we're getting a little annoyed, so Dom jokingly says "maybe our buzzer is broken, I'll go check" and he goes to the hostess to check on our reservation. Guess what? OUR BUZZER WAS BROKEN. No joke.

So, we asked her why she didn't ask around the bar for us, she did after all tell us to go to the bar, so it would be fair to assume on her part that we didn't just up and leave...also keeping in mind that the hostess station is right next to the bar and the bar really isn't that big. She tells us she DID ask around the bar but no one responded.

Let's all roll our eyes in unison.

Because it was our anniversary dinner, we didn't want to get our knickers in a twist so early in the evening, we quietly gave her our best WTF, you're an idiot look and followed her to our seats. Now, since the restaurant is up on the 37th floor and it overlooks the water and the city, there are a few coveted seats around the windows. As she showed us to our table, which was not a window table, we noticed an empty window table right next to where she was seating us. So, we asked her if we could have the window table, since she had left us cooling our heels at the bar unnecessarily after all, surely she should try to compensate by giving us the good table. She spouted off some ridiculousness about how there was a special waiting list for the window and if we wanted a window we should have told her when we arrived. At this point Dom got pissed and asked to speak to her manager. As she walked away we quietly giggled to ourselves, because we weren't honestly that upset and our evening was far from being ruined, but at this point we needed some compensation for the terrible hostess. Anyway to make my already long story short...that's an oxymoron....shorter than it could be. The manager came by and let us have a window table, where we discovered that our original table was actually a better table. =) Haha. Nevertheless we enjoyed the sheepish look on the managers face when we told him that our anniversary dinner was being ruined by his incompetent hostess and relished in the fact that as far as he was concerned the window table was the better table and he had to squeeze us into the stupid "window table list".

The next morning after our fabulous anniversary dinner (it really was damn tasty, and I still recommend going to the Portland City Grill and having the steak, even after our seating debacle) we headed off to catch our train down to good ole Springtucky. Which will come in my next post and I'll show you some piccies of the house.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Salicylate Sensitivity

Along with the detox that I'm doing, the naturopath also said that she thought I might have a salicylate sensitivity, her reason for thinking this is my ever present scalp psoriasis and other assorted skin issues that I've seemingly had since birth that modern medicine has had no effect on and my fruit allergy, which no doctor can explain or help AT ALL.

This is just a trial to see if I actually have a problem with salicylates, but along with my no dairy, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar detox I'm also trying to cut out foods that are high in salicylates...which is basically all the fruits and vegetables I like, including ones I swear I use in every meal, like tomatoes, onions, capsicums (that's bell peppers) and mushrooms. It's quite a chore to find foods that I can eat right now. But if cutting out certain foods will make my scalp better, I'M IN!

Anyone ever heard of salicylate sensitivity? Anyone have any brilliant recipes that are low in salicylates?

The Detox Saga

I'm on a Detox. It sucks.

The story goes like this. I went to see a naturopath about some problems I'm having with my period and she suggested a mild detox. Mild as in no caffeine, no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol. That's it.

THAT'S IT she says, hahahaha.

It's the no caffeine I'm really struggling with. You see, I'm an AVID coffee drinker, ie do not talk to me in the morning until I've had my coffee kind of coffee drinker, do not think it's funny to start a fake argument with me in the morning before I've had coffee kind of coffee drinker, I have no sense of humor in the morning before I've had coffee kind of coffee drinker.

I started this detox just yesterday, yes, just yesterday and I'm already struggling. I'm fine with the no sugar and no dairy, we eat those very sparingly anyway...except in MY COFFEE! I will gladly cut out all the sugar and dairy you want, just let me have the goddamn coffee!


I honestly thought I was a one coffee a day kind of person and I didn't think this would be THAT hard, but in my sad coffee addicted head I forgot about the fact that I have a second cup of coffee while I'm out and about ALMOST EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Anyway, I started this detox yesterday and it took all of 2 hours for the headache to begin. We had unfortunately decided to go to the Australian Museum, which I'll write about soon, and it was a holiday here in Oz, so ALL THE CHILDREN IN SYDNEY were at the museum, screaming and running and being obnoxious little shits...or so it seemed to me because 1. I don't have children and 2. I hadn't had coffee. I swear these were the loudest most obnoxious kids and their parents were just as bad! Yelling "Lorenzo, come here!" over and over again. Yes, there was a poor little kid named Lorenzo at the museum yesterday, though I'm sure his problem was that his parents named him Lorenzo, so nevermind about Lorenzo he was totally in the right trying to escape his cruel parents.

I digress.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, the headache. So, caffeine withdrawl headache + school holiday museum trip = not the best Monday of my life.

On to Day 2, this morning I wake up after sleeping for like 9 hours, still tired and unwilling to start the day, I mean what's the point of getting out of bed if there's no coffee to look forward to!

Tangent: I once dated this guy who loved coffee so much that he said the only reason he went to bed at night was so that he could get up and have his morning coffee, I thought he was a bit nutty but now I'm thinking he totally had the right idea.

Back to today, I got up begrudgingly and decided that life sucked and I had no desire to do ANYTHING, nothing at all. I spent my morning like this, hating life and the fact that the mean naturopath (who I totally love by the way) wasn't letting me have coffee and deciding that there was really just no reason to live if I couldn't have coffee...I might be being just a tad overdramatic, but this is honestly how I felt until...

I caved.

I had some coffee.

Just one teeny tiny little cup of coffee...and you know what? The world became infinitely more enjoyable. My headache went away, I realized I felt like doing all sorts of stuff today (most important of which was to update my blog) and THE SUN CAME OUT!

I shit you not.

It was gray and cloudy all morning, perfectly matching my mood and then the second that barista handed me that cup of deliciousness the sun literally burst through the clouds. Birds began chirping, champagne fell from the skies...ok sorry, that was just in my own head, but seriously the sun came out.

It was amazing and I believe god is telling me that I should not give up coffee.