Live while you’re living.

We had a gorgeous sunny day here in Sydney- perhaps we really are on the tail end of winter.

On such a glorious Saturday, Ryan and I decided to jump in the car and head 80 km’s up Central Coast to Avoca Beach where there is a big ole dog friendly off leash beach. Sydney is surprisingly stingy with its dog friendly beaches, and despite the laid back Aussie attitude that prevails, that attitude does not extend to dogs- I still haven’t figured out why. It’s very much this way when it comes to housing as well. (We are VERY fortunate with our special living situation. Y’all know I wasn’t about to go anywhere without my furry babies.)

Here she is…..the Queen. Front row seat. “Mama, we’re almost there!!! Where we going???”


“Mama, I love you and papa, thank you for bringing me to the SAND!!!!”

Anyway, we took the Meems to the beach, and the boys stayed at home. Mimi loves the sand. Her feet touch it and you can see the dawning on her face- her expression changes and she is 5 years old again. Her ears flap in the breeze like tiny furry kites and there is absolutely no way that a person could see the way her lips pull back from her teeth and not call it a smile. She runs around on that beach circling back and forth between Ryan and I, putting that famed doxie sniffer to task. No one believes me when I tell them she’s 14.

IMG_9264Maybe a little too much walking for these midget legs, so …..papa carries the Queen…….

IMG_9284Passed out on the way back home…..What a great day.




Less = More.

Gosh, y’all. I’m really trying to be all about THIS.


Quality over quantity. I really do believe in that.

The present and the now. This moment.

Have less, but have better. Have more meaningful. Have more dear (that’s Aussie for ‘expensive’) – but have it last longer and really please you more. You want Chanel? Then pass on the Target impulse buys. It’s hard, but you know what, you can do it. It makes for grumpiness at first. But then, like exercise, it feels gooooooooooood. Cause you are the boss of you.

Be satisfied and feel in control. Financially and emotionally and resources-wise.

Spread it to slowly to other areas of your life.

Job, food, social.

Practice and know you will have moments of weakness. Forgive yourself, then get right back on that horse.

Repeat and repeat some more.

Sri Lanka: Volucation, day 3

It’s hot here, y’all and I mean not-for-the-faint-of-heart H.O.T .
Yesterday was our first full day of work. We woke up and had brekkie as a group. Besides Hubs and I, there are our friends from America who met us here, 2 French and a Dane. We are staying in a big house that’s on the property with a lovely host family. It’s basic accommodation – no hot water, no AC, bunk beds with mosquito nets, sometimes we see a critter or two inside and last night I saw a spider that puts the huntsmen in Australia to shame.
After brekkie, we trekked over to the elephant enclosure to say good morning to Sujee and Washtu, the 2 Asian elephants here. We took out their poop, threw it on a canvas bag and carried it to the pile of poop already there. The thing about elepoo, it’s barely processed. It’s basically a (big) ball of compressed vegetation. They dry it and use it to make paper and also use it as mulch for the Eco garden. It’s honestly not so bad. I see worse at work.

After poop patrol, we were off for a 2 hour walk together. We went along the streets to a more secluded area without a paved road. In the sun. In the hot blazing sun.

The elephants walk and eat, walk and eat. We snap photos and steal feels along the way. The mahouts cut banana trees which are full of water and the ele’s chow down.
After the walk, we came back to the house for tea before we went to the river to wash the ele’s. They lie down and we scrub them all over with coconut shells. It’s like a spa for them

For us, the hard work wasn’t over, we were off to the Eco garden to weed, build new planters and mulch them with poo.
I may have sweat more than I have in my entire life. That river that the elephants had been spa-ing in was looking very very nice.


After the day was over, we sat on the porch playing cards, having gin and tonics and catching up. And napping.


We went to bed by 9:30, sleeping like the dead with the oscillating fans going full speed and the windows open to the moonlight. After a cold shower, it was actually quite comfy and I needed the sheet. Looking forward to what’s in store for work day 2.

Volu-cation: Destination Sri Lanka

Tomorrow, we leave for Sri Lanka. We’ll be having a “volu-cation.” You know what that means? It means you’re a sucker, and you pay to go and work somewhere. On your holiday. No AC. RURAL. “It’s an authentic experience.”


We’ve gotten our shots, malaria pills, beefed up our first aid kit, bought a medical grade water filter and head torches, borrowed a GoPro (thank you, Traci!), secured our visas, double checked our travel insurance, charged our devices and arranged for the C-dogs to be at camp.


We arrive in Colombo at midnight after 14.5 hours of flying and will go straight to our hotel on the Indian ocean. We’ll be collected the next day to go to our accommodation in the jungle- cue angels singing — the Elephant Freedom Project!!!!


Last week, I went to Kmart and bought all of our travel clothes- shirts, socks, shoes, ‘roos, swimmers, shorts- everything. We will leave it all behind and it will be much loved and appreciated by the local people. We also bought chocolate, stickers and pencils, Kikuyu grass seed and dog supplies. In addition to working with the elephants, we’ll be working with the local school, having cooking classes, learning about spices and tea, and of course laughing our butts off with our friends from America that will be meeting us (look for some co-blogs coming soon.)


One thing we will not be doing is riding the elephants, as they believe that elephants should not be used for servitude. Those poor souls have an unhappy life, nothing more than circus monkeys, kept for the pleasure of people whilst basically few of their needs are considered and catered for.

Hoping to change some minds, and educate those not in the know as I go along on my journey next week.

And yes, I will be sucking out every ounce of comfort from the Virgin Australia Lounge that I possibly can before we depart. I mean, duh.



Gut check.

A friend recently mentioned to me that I may be a bit too passionate about my passion. She did it gently, sweetly. After several glasses of wine. When she knew my reflexes were slower. 


And honestly, I’ve been thinking about it A LOT since then. Like, seriously. A lot. Soul searching is always good- for the soul. And the heart. And the mind. 

So, am I? Am I a zealot? 


We euthanize 30,000 dogs a DAY in America. Officially. But you can be sure the numbers are in actuality much higher than that.


If you know me, you know that I am an avid, educated, experienced and consistent rescue supporter. I’ve never been an in-your-face, picket-sign carrying, human-chain blocking , spittle coming out the side of my mouth Greenpeace / PETA style lunatic. There is a line, and I’ve not crossed it. One catches more bees with honey. But I’ve seen the rawness of it, believe you me, and it is sometimes all I can do to soft sell it. 


So I thought about it, and again, some more. And then even more. And I’ve been doing my research. And you know what? I’m going to keep on encouraging adoption. And discouraging breeding. And not praising puppies that come from questionable sources. Puppy farms exist in Australia too. Believe that, people.


Today I ran some errands after work, and was gobsmacked to see a store selling puppies. Like in display cases. Fat, gorgeous, sloppy precious puppies for way too much money from (almost certainly) factory farming operations. It’s a proper BUSINESS, people. Google puppy mills. Look up puppy farms. Ugly, ugly, ugly. 

And as far as going directly to the breeder? To create demand for yet another puppy when there is an “overstock” already- there are little canine souls, already here just waiting for someone to CHOOSE THEM. Talk about grateful. Thankful. Loyal for life. 


So, to that friend, I say thank you. And, truly, I do mean it. A gut check you gave me, and that’s a precious gift.

I’ll not compromise my principles for the sake of harmony or for the sake of someone else’s moral comfort, and I would never expect that of anyone else. Knowing that I’ve got this in me feels really really good.

I’ll be a voice for them. I’ll be reasonable, I’ll be thoughtful, I’ll be approachable. But I’ll never approve of something I don’t believe in.

Bliss is knowing who you are. And who you aren’t.


The middle finger

It’s universal, y’all!!


I got my first bird today! And it was actually kind of adorable. Cause it was the mom style bird- the one where you have to hold the other fingers down with your thumb because of a general lack of coordination? So cute.


And full or kismet, “kismetic” if you will. (It’s my blog and I can make up words if I want…) but more on that in a minute.

So, yah. Driving home from work.


You should know that Sydney drivers are quite polite. They use their blinkers religiously. They allow people to merge by actually slowing down. They don’t pull that crap where they ride up to the end of an ending lane and try and sneak over like an a-hole.

So for a minute, as I was driving home, in the cocoon of my car- listening to my music, I didn’t think about being in Sydney. And was on auto-pilot like I was in Atlanta. No self-respecting Atlantan lets anyone in. In fact, we’ll speed up just to TEACH YOU A DAMN LESSON!!!! HOW DARE you merge????

So, I was right about here, as shown in the photo, exiting to get home when I was able to pull up and see the bird flicker…..


And I SWEAR on my life, this bird flicker, the lady who gave me the gestural “eff-you” was an older lady WITH A DACHSHUND RIDING ON HER LAP.

I’ll bet you a million dollars, she got that dachshund from a damn breeder. Bless her heart.



Tan Po Po

There’s a place right up from us on Military Road that does a mean bento, Tan Po Po Japenese. So I walked up there tonight and sat at a table and ordered and ate. Leisurely. Just me. Me and my Kindle and my BYO wine.  I always choose the karaage chicken and the beef tataki. Rice, sashimi, miso soup, and prawn (shrimp) tempura is standard. It’s fresh and delicious and they do a banging business. Cash only- one of those places. 20140516-192646.jpg

And as I watched people walk by, and go about their Friday night business, I was thankful for the appreciation of my own company. Call me an introvert, I am- it’s nothing I don’t know about myself- I consider it strength of character to go and just BE. Alone. There is so much to be learned from it.  Last night, I was having a chat with a friend, and we were talking about this very thing. People who don’t feel comfortable going out for a meal by themselves. Bless their hearts- they’re missing out. It’s not about passively watching the world go by. It’s about watching that world- as an observer full of curious scrutiny and learning what’s there and where you fit in. Decide. Plan. Be purposeful.

So tonight, I walked up, had a nice glass of something spirited and took my Kindle with me- a book just aching to be read. Here was my view: photo(3)

Now, I’m back at home. On my cozy striped sofa. Wiener dogs snuggling. Girls on the TV. (Love Lena Dunham- you just KNOW she eats dinner alone sometimes.) And best of all, hubs is back from a rather long business trip in about 21 minutes.

How about you. Do you enjoy your own company?

Adventures at Bunnings

Went to Bunnings today (Aussie Home Depot) for some Latex primer / sealer. I’m standing in the paint section. Scanning. Searching.
Bunnings Guy: “You going okay?”

Me: “Actually, I’m looking for latex primer?”                                                                                                                                          

BG: [Look of serious concern on his face] “Lay.Tex……. Primer? You want to paint latex? Don’t reckon we have any primer that will work on latex. All we have is oil based and water based.”                                                                                                                                          

Me: “Great! Latex actually means water based. I’m priming  a wall. I’ll take one of those.”                                                              

BG: “You from ‘Merica?”

Me: “Yep.”

BG: “It’s really called Latex paint in “Merica?”

Me: “Yep.”







I don’t get all caught up in royalty, but George? I like ’em. You see how he is wearing a sweater (okokokokOKAY, a JUMPER) with his name on it? Yah,  lets face it- that’s the baby version of a MONOGRAM. And it’s grey. The best colo(u)r evah. So flattering. Ticks all of the  boxes.

But the best part is. Do you see how he’s looking so lovingly, so adoringly at the dog? The dog’s name is Lupo, by the way. Dogs have always been inner circle to the royals. Non-judgmental. Hush-hush. Let’s face it. George is a boy after my own heart. As long as the dog is there- it’s all good. And, really, isn’t it? You don’t need the crown jewels to realize that.



..of the BASEBALL bat that is. It was heard throughout the hallowed SCG this week, and the stands were PACKED, y’all. You have to understand, little boys don’t grow up with baseball here. If it’s not footie or cricket, it’s just not happenin’

Lookie here-


They even had some right hand drive Mustangs queued up, cause why not?


This is, hands down, the best sports event I’ve ever been to, (and the hubs has dragged me to taken me to quite a few.)

It was such an amazing atmosphere- electric- alive – momentous. They even imported the clay from the US (which they are now auctioning off, by the way.) Aussies love sport, they love a wager, they love competition and they are up for anything that is a good time. These were not cheap tickets- slightly south of $400 each and like I said, sold out, so Aussies are willing to pony up for an experience. I love that about them. (I love so much about them.)

We stood for the American Anthem, and then for the Australian Anthem. Hats off, of course. Music to my ears.

Standing in the (ludicrously LONG) line for merchandise, (it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to shanking someone over the LAST shirt…but lucky for HER I got it….) I got into a chat with some fellow Americans. Huge Dodgers fans. Instead of season tickets this year, they had flown out to Sydney for the beginning of the series- a “once in a lifetime experience” in their eyes. Apparently, there were planes and planes full of Americans who had traveled out and done the same thing. Very cool. It was almost odd to hear so much of that accent.


Then there was the food. (They said it was going to be American food………. bless their hearts.)

They had Bar-B-Q (as in meat with red sauce which is completely different than BBQ here, which just means GRILLED.) This woulda never been considered Bar-B-Q south of the Mason-Dixon Line. But three cheers for trying, hey?

They had ginormous hot dogs, seriously they were “2 feet” came in a special carry case, and they were FORTY DOLLARS.


They put the words up to “Take Me Out To the Ballgame” and we all sang our lungs out.

ImageAnd we happened to be sitting next to the lovliest people- Nicole and her son Jack, who just happens to have signed with the Minnesota Twins(!!!) on his 18th birthday! We chatted with them the whole game- traded shouts–  and as they were here from Brisbane- we took them with us when we had an after game celebratory celebration in Paddington. I asked Nicole how she was going to feel about having an American daughter-in-law cause those girls are going to be ALL over Jack- he is SO cute, so polite and mannered, plus the accent? D-U-N.

  This is the hubs, our good friend Matthew, Jack and moi.


Like I said, we had amazing seats, and they had these stickers on the back of them. So I peeled one off, and I stuck it to the back of the program that we bought for my dad.

Who me, what??Image

I heard some things that made me smile- a lot and it was an all in all fantastic day….here’s a sampling.

“Nah, mate. The fifth inning is halftime.”

“it’s like aerial ping-pong, for the love of God, but those Americans are good blokes.”


**Last we heard, they are talking about doing it again in 4 years. Start saving your pennies now.