Revisiting my List

I was checking out some new blog followers when I came across someone who wants to move to Australia.  She posted a list on her blog of things that she wanted to do once she got here and she stated that she got the idea from another blogger (and kept some of the original items).  As I read my way down the list, I realised that the list came from me!  It was only my fourth entry in this blog and it has been so long since I wrote it that I had almost forgotten about it.  I went back and read through it and I thought it might be fun to re-visit it now that we have been living here for a year.  Anyway, thanks Jay Jay (hope you are reading this) for reminding me about this and I hope your immigration process goes smoothly!  You will love it here!

Here is the original list:

  • Visit Fiji at least once

  • Take a vacation to Thailand/Singapore/Malaysia/Philippines

  • Visit Melbourne - This was a fun trip; but I didn't really connect to Melbourne as a city.  It just made me miss Sydney.

  • Drive the Great Ocean Road - This was incredible!  I fully plan on going back again soon and doing this again.  I saw more beautiful things on a weekend during this trip than I have ever seen in my life.

  • Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef

  • Visit Tasmania

  • Visit both New Zealand Islands - Not done yet; but we are going for 2 weeks with Joe's parents right before Christmas

  • Take a tour through wine country - Not sure why I was so vague with this one when I wrote it?  Which region?  I didn't know there were so many!  Anyway, we are going to the Margaret River Valley in a few weeks and I can cross this one off!

  • Go to Japan

  • Stay at one really upscale resort in one of the places listed above

  • Go to the Taronga Zoo - This was really cool - I went with a friend who got me on her family pass.  I can't get over how expensive the entry fee is; but it would be worth it at least once just to see it - it's a great zoo.

  • Walk through the Botanical Gardens - Happy to report that I've done this a fair number of times!  So many times, in fact, that I can't even tally them all up...

  • Go to a show at the Sydney Opera House at least once - Still haven't done this!  What is wrong with me?  I see that Opera House EVERY DAY and I still have not been inside... I am asking Joe for tickets to something for my birthday and we are getting this done. 

  • Visit every famous Sydney Beach - Again, I'm not even sure what I was thinking when I wrote this...  I'm not even sure if I know what all the famous beaches are in Sydney.  I've been to Manly, Balmoral, Bondi. Coogee, Tamarama, Clovelley and Bronte.  What am I missing?  Maybe Curl Curl and Dee Why?

  • Take a vacation to Hawaii

  • Have a picnic in all of the famous Sydney Parks - Again...  What parks are the famous ones?  Well, I eat my lunch in Cook and Phillip park all the time; but that isn't really famous.  Obviously, we have supped in many of the aspects of the Botanical Gardens.  Surprisingly enough, we have never had a picnic in Hyde Park.  I walk through it every day to and from work; but I've never eaten there.  Oh Wait!  I take it back!  We went to the Night Noodle Markets there, sat on some newspapers, ate pork buns and split a bottle of wine.  Sounds like a picnic to me!  Am I missing some famous parks?

  • Take a cruise through Sydney Harbour - Does taking the ferry back and forth every day count?  I think we will do one of those touristy sight-seeing cruises when Joe's parents come at Christmas

  • See Mrs. Macquaries Chair - Indeed, and have the pictures to prove it!  Not sure why I thought this was that important?  It was cool and all; but I'm not sure it belongs on a list with a trip to Fiji.... Just sayin...

  • Attend the open-air cinema - I'm crossing this one off even though we never got to go to the St. George cinema in the Botanical Gardens (which is the specific one that I was writing about).  We did purchase season tickets for the Starlight cinemas at the North Sydney Oval and spent many an evening under the stars watching movies...

  • Hold a koala - Now that I've seen koalas in the wild on our Great Ocean Road trip, I have less desire to hold one.  Seeing one seemed to fill whatever koala shaped hole was in my life at the time I wrote this..

  • See a kangaroo - I'm not going to cross this off since I've only seen one in the zoo - I don't think it counts till you see one in the wild...

  • I think I've done pretty good so far with crossing things off this list - next year is definitely the year for Fiji!  Now that we've been here for a while, I think I need to sit down and draw up a new list.  Perhaps this time I'll keep it out in the open instead of burying it in a blog post and not looking at it for a year!

    Spring equals Fall?

    Today is Daffodil Day here in Australia.  This is a huge fundraiser by the Cancer Council (much like the American Cancer Society for those back home) that is held every year to raise funds for research etc…  The event, in a nutshell, is people all over the city selling merchandise to raise the funds.  Most of the volunteers are school children in their uniforms and they are quite adorable and earnest about selling as much as they can.  I always buy from the boys that stand on Wharf 4 of Circular Quay as I am getting off the ferry.  My reasoning is simple:  people will approach you over and over during your morning commute asking you to support the Cancer Council; but if they can see that you have already bought something than they leave you alone.  So, I try to buy something the instant I step into the city.  In hindsight, I wish I had waited and bought from the two 10 year old boys at the exit of the St. James Station.  They were having a very serious discussion with each other about where exactly to stand to maximise their sales thereby raising more money.  What cuties!  This year I bought a sunny little bunch of actual Daffodils.  It’s a very small bunch for $5.00; but for such a good cause that I would have paid double that.  They are quite fragrant and, as I sit here at my desk, basking in Spring flowers and dreaming about the 67 degree day outside the windows right now, it’s hard to reconcile that it’s actually almost September.  Anywho – here are some facts about Daffodil Day:

    • This year Daffodil Day celebrates its 25th anniversary in Australia
    • The largest national fundraising event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Daffodil Day raises essential finds for cancer research, prevention and support services.
    • The daffodil is the international symbol of hope for all touched by cancer
    • This year Daffodil Day aims to raise over $9.5 million to fund the cancer control initiatives, patient support and research services of Cancer Council's eight state and territory member organisations
    • More than 10,000 volunteers are expected to staff over 1,200 Daffodil Day sites across Australia

    Last night a friend with a car was nice enough to drive me out to a little Polish deli in Roseville.  As you know (if you read my last post), I am having a pierogi party tomorrow and I was hoping to get some authentic and delicious kielbasa to cook up with the pierogis when we are done working for a much deserved reward dinner.  Well! It was incredible!  If you live in Sydney you should go there and buy as much deliciousness as you can carry home.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  This place is called European Taste Smallgoods and Delicatessen – they don’t have a website; but if you Google them you will find lots of articles about them.  They are at 19 Hill St. in Roseville….  It’s a very tiny place – just enough space for a couple of deli cases and some dry goods on the other side.  Pretty much everything was in Polish which made me feel proud and sad and sorry all at once.  Proud of being Polish, sad for Dad being gone and sorry that we never learned Polish growing up.  I checked out the deli cases while the customer before me was being helped and found what I was looking for!! 

    The woman behind the counter (who I also think was one half of the couple that own it) made me think of Grandma Ziebro – in those pictures before her hair went all grey.  Anyway, she helped me find the kielbasa I wanted – there was only smoked in the case so I asked her for fresh.  She gave me a suspicious look and said “Only in freezer, only in package of six – you still want?”  Indeed I did.  She handed it to me a little reluctantly and I asked her if it was the same flavor as the smoked garlic one I was getting.  She said no.  I asked what the difference was and she said “This one raw – you must cook!”  Poor woman, I kept trying to tell her that I knew that it was raw meat and that I needed to cook it ; but I think she was nervous to sell it to me cause she thought I would take it home, eat it raw and get sick.  She packaged them up though and as she was ringing them up she asked me why I was buying so much.  I told her about the party and that I was teaching people how to make pierogis.  She immediately paused and took the handle of the shopping bag and pulled it to her side of the counter.  I was still waiting for the total when this conversation happened:

    Her – “You are going to teach people how to make pierogis?”
    Me – “Yes….”
    Her – “How do you know how to make them?”
    Me – “My Dad was Polish and I had a big family and we used to make them all the time.  I decided one year that I wanted to really perfect the family recipe so I worked on it for a long time and now I have a really great recipe and an easy way of making them”
    Her – “What kind you make?”
    Me – “Mushroom and sauerkraut and potato.”
    Her (nodding) – “Ok…. What do you put in your dough?”
    Me – “Flour, eggs, water, oil and salt”
    Her – “Yes, many people do not put the oil”
    Me – “Oh, you definitely need the oil or the dough is not good”
    Her – “Ok!  Very Good!”

    Then she got all smiley, gave me the total and wished me well for the party.  Whew!  I was quite nervous that I was going to fail the test and not be allowed to buy my kielbasa.  She was so cute that I want to take her back in some of my pierogis when they are done, ask her to adopt me as her granddaughter and teach me Polish.  They are right by a train station so I see many trips for kielbasa in my future.  I am just sorry for the people who will be riding that train home with me, smelling that garlicky goodness and not getting to have any.  I hadn’t gotten to taste any of the stuff I bought so it was with great trepidation (who am I kidding – I ripped that package open and cut a piece off before I even said hello to my husband) that I tried a piece when I got home.  It is some of the best kielbasa I have ever tasted.  Like Easter Kielbasa on delicious steroids.  Amazing… 

    This morning as I was leaving for work, I quickly reached in the fridge to grab an orange and a yogurt to throw in my bag for breakfast.  I shut the fridge door and a split second later that garlic and spice smell reached out and slapped me across the face a couple of times.  In that instant I was a little girl – at the top of the basement stairs – back when there was orange striped carpet (I think?) – smelling that same smell sneaking its way out of that old green fridge with the silver handle that was in the basement – Easter was just a few days away – Mom was making poppy seed roll just up those 3 stairs in the kitchen – I was getting called to knead some Babka – Daffodils were blooming in the woods and Lily’s of the Valley were sending their scent in through the open kitchen window.  I wanted to live in that memory for the rest of my life and, when I blinked and it faded, I just wanted to sit on the kitchen floor and weep for every Easter that I will ever have in my life that isn’t like that one.

    This is yet another thing that confuses my seasons/holidays.  Daffodils, kielbasa smells and slowly warming weather spells Easter to me….  Instead, I should start thinking about our Labour Day trip, whether or not we will have a Halloween party and how big of a turkey I will need for Thanksgiving this year. 

    Quite strange…  

    Bad Mood Day

    I had to get up an hour earlier than usual this morning and it really threw me off - I kept asking Joe on the commute in to the city why he was so cranky.  Suddenly I realised that I was the cranky one...  Oops...

    I've been trying to take lots of deep breaths this morning - I had a coffee etc...  Just trying to tame this wave of irritation that keeps spiking up.  Well, it's not really working so well.

    Any tips?  I could really use them right now....

    This was all I could come up with...

    This is about my eighteenth attempt at writing a blog post in so many days. One of the posts during last week’s spate of beautiful weather in the 70’s was titled “Spring has Sprung!”  I deleted that one because really, how many times can you write “It’s so warm!!  I love sunshine!” before you realise it’s a crap post? (It’s about 6 times by the way – at least that’s how many I wrote before I deleted the entry).  

    Anyway,  I stole an idea from another blogger for this entry and it’s so easy that I know I will actually write it.  Basically, I am just going to list some non-sequiturs from my recent life in bullet points below and then you will all be filled in on how exciting my life is.  No really… 

    Ok, here goes:

    • In Australia, you are supposed to drive (AND WALK) on the left.  This bullet point is for the crazy woman in Cook and Phillips park this morning who walked straight towards us on the right (direction not degree of correctness) of the side walk and then made us stop completely and shuffle around so that she wouldn't have to walk on the correct side of the side walk.  I hope that you are reading this!

    • I had cinnamon toast for brekkie this morning and it was magical.  Not cinnamon bread that was toasted - oh no!  This was white bread toasted with cinnamon sugar on top.  Joe was sick this week and one night for dinner he made himself cinnamon toast - I wasn't even paying attention till he sat down with it and the smell hit me.  It was one of those visceral scents that transport you to a time in your childhood.  I think the last time I had cinnamon toast like that was when I was living at home and my Mom made it for me.  I can't believe I forgot about it - it's so comforting and delicious especially with a hot cup of tea.

    • Joe and I are going on a date night tonight - we have both been sick with horrible flu/cold/coughs and since we are now all recovered we will be celebrating with dinner and a movie in the city.

    • It really irritates me when I get a work email that someone has signed only with their initial.  I know they don't mean anything by it; but to me it says, "I'm so busy and important that I can't be stuffed to write my full name for you..."

    • I am hosting a pierogi party at our place sometime in the next month where lots of people will come over, I will teach them how to make yummy pierogis, we will make them all day and then we will all have dozens to keep in the freezer like little bags of gold!  This party necessitated me buying a pasta maker and I treated myself to a gorgeous black Atlas beauty.

    • Best for Last....  My husband has the greatest sense of humour...  We have a slow leak in the S pipe under our sink.  I have a little bowl under it catching the drips; but it seems to be getting worse.  I asked Joe to email our real estate agent about it and, let me tell you, if I had wrote the email it would have been matter of fact, boring and no frills.  This is the email that Joe sent:

    "Hi __________,

    I'm sad to report that the recent spat of cold weather has given our kitchen sink S-pipe a bit of the sniffles. It has a pretty persistent drip that no amount of tissues and love seems to cure. It's making a bit of a mess of the cupboard under the sink. Would you mind sending the plumbing doctor over for a house call?"

    Isn't he just the cutest?