Yuck.

I’d post a photo, but Ryan and Thor have already taken out the bin as the rubbish collectors come on Tuesday am.

So, just imagine- oblong minced meat mass with a stick in it.

I’m all for trying new things. Hopefully it will stave off the Alzheimer’s that runs in my family.

As one would- and should- expect when relocating, food is different here. I try as much as I can. When in Rome, you know.

Thumbs up:  Beets. Laksa. Kiwi Berries. Rock Melon. Pavlova. Haloumi. Tim Tams. Mascarpone pizza. Seaweed salad.

Thumbs down: Vegemite. Balsamic. Kimchi, Pickled ginger. And what I had picked up to cook for dinner tonight- Lemongrass Chilli Pork Skewers. Sounded pretty good, maybe in the spirit of novelty- but ewwww. I actually threw away the leftovers. And I am ALL about having leftovers for lunch. (Work smarter, not harder, right?) Way too lemongrassy.

So, this was a fail. Big time. But two steps forward, one step back. No idea what’s for dinner tomorrow night. Hubs has tennis, so we may just partake of the menu at the club. Mama may need a night off, I reckon.

 

 

 

 

Itchy Feet

I haven’t been anywhere in a while now, and my feet are feeling itchy. My passport feels neglected. We’ve a trip planned in April, but that’s really it. My parents are coming again in December and we’ll be headed back to New Zealand, the North Island this time, but that’s a long way away. Time-wise, I mean.

There are so many places to go (Dr. Seuss, anyone?) and so little time in which to go there. High on my list are Iceland and Africa. At work today, talking to a new-ish friend, I found out that she is retiring and moving back to her home in Johannesburg, after many many years here in Sydney. You better come stay with us, she says, – 4 bedrooms and a pool, she says! (Listen, don’t make me an offer of lodging unless you are serious. Cause, I’ll stay, y’all. I will. Knock-knock-knock, HI!  IT’s MEEEEEEE!)  South Africa with a South African? Yes, please.

The hubs and I are celebrating FIFTEEN(!) years of wedded-ness this year, and we are thinking of a road trip deep into the red center of Australia. It’s probably better to wait until 15 years of togetherness before attempting this kind of trip, because, Good Lord (Southern phrase) – you really have to like that person before they are the only face you see for ages in the midst of a hostile desert that would just as soon see you as a pile of picked over bones than a man in the moon (another SP.) And they have to know you well enough to know when silence is golden. They have to know how to take turns picking the music (it’s not necessarily one for one.)

What about you? What’s on your list? Who do you hope to travel  there with? Do you get itchy feet?

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So this week…..

T. had elevated liver enzymes last week, so he wasn’t able to undergo anesthesia. (THIS, is why you pay for pre-anesthetic blood tests people- it’s really NOT a racket…)  Adrienne (his doctah)  gave him an antibiotic injection (Convenia- it’s AMAZING- do you have it in America? Long acting and focused. —It cleared up the Meems’ UTI justlikethat. Ask your vet-) and he will go back tomorrow for a retest. If levels are down, he’s good to go, and will have his eye surgery. If not, we’ll go from there. Shhhh. I’m not ready to face what happens if we are “not.” Have I mentioned how much I love that boy? Seriously, I.LOVE.THAT.DAMN.DOG.

And I’m not the only one. *Throat clearing noise…..

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BUT this is not what I was thinking of initially when I started this post!!!! Focus, woman, focus

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The hubs has been working HARD. Like seriously, days and nights and weekends. Tonight (long story I will spare you here- -and you are welcome) he was supposed to go for lawn bowls, which is a very Australian thing that we have come to love here- at the club in our neigbourhood (Neutral Bay Club, hollah!!) But, alas, the weather had different ideas, and the bowls were not to be, as it is impossible, even for Aussies, to bowl in the pouring rain.

So. We went to NBC anyway- cause, ya know, they have a kitchen there, and very cheap wine- plus, the Carruth kitchen was closed (mama had a busy day- no cooking.) And the place was completely packed. Cause it’s Wednesday- who knew-  and they are doing TRIVIA!!!! I wish I had had my camera, because I am all about making a picture for y’all to see, but I left my phone at home. On accident.

Hello, and the pot was…..(drumroll)……$450 buckaroonies!!!!!

So, there  were several questions that pertained to the US- as in they showed a map of America with a circled state of Michigan (what’s the state??- the table next to us guessed Georgia- bless their hearts…), lots of questions that involved clues with Presidents. So. We have decided that we will go back with a cross-cultural representation of our friends to answer the trivia questions and win that pot.

Hubs and I will take America. We need Australia, probably Europe and then “rest of the world.” Strategerie. It’s all about planning to win. Cause you have to plan on that.

 

 

 

So, one thing that is really hard about moving somewhere completely new is the minutiae that bombards you at the beginning.  Have you ever thought about that? Cell phone plan. Finding a dentist. Learning how to tell a taxi how to get to your house. Finding a gyno. For me, a lot of it had to do with the dogs. Y’all know how I am.

I found a boarding place. Small dogs only. No cages. Heating and AC. Big yard, play with friends. Huge relief. Phew, we can travel.           

Found an in home service– potty breaks, dog walker, provider of lovin’ and nom-nom’s. Seriously, Summer has been a bridge to so many good things for the C-dogs. She even referred me to Kirsty, who gives Thor his Vidal Sassoon locks.

She also referred me to Adrienne (did I mention that EVERYONE goes by their first name here?- You even call your physician by their first name, after a year and a half I’m finally able to do it…) Anyway, Adrienne is the dog’s vet. Thank goodness, cause I’m not a real easy client. I’ve learned a few things about vetting and medication and procedure over the years of rescue (LOTS of vetting)  and I’m a bit more prepared  than probably the typical client would be. I ask why and why not and how. Adrienne is not daunted by my questions and opinions. She is not thrown off by Trevor’s growls and posturing- “he’s got great teeth”, she says. (As he bares them to her. )

Anyway, the T-man is going in tomorrow to have a little surgical procedure. I’m trusting Adrienne with my boy- my little dog soulmate. We’re pulling up his water and food tonight so that when he undergoes the anesthesia, he doesn’t have anything in his belly to come back up again. (This means I have to eagle eye him to make sure he doesn’t “help” me pick up the poo, know what I mean?)

If you’re so inclined, some good mojo would sure be appreciated.

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Bridg and Stan

I didn’t get a photo, dammit. We were too busy having a good time.

In my work in animal rescue, I have been SO lucky to meet some of the coolest people. Honestly. Bridg and Stan, who are my parent’s age, adopted a little girl from us at DREAM named Lucy several years ago. I coordinated the adoption, and we hit it off. We’ve kept in touch. Lucy went to the rainbow bridge last year, after those last years of her life were filled with travel, kisses, fine dining, and many nicknames. Lucy, the blind dog with “selective hearing” was one lucky-ducky girl to have ended up in their home. And that’s how B and S  roll- they adopt the ones that are “difficult-to-adopt.” Not that I’m sure why they would be difficult- Good Lord, those babies are so grateful(!) and worship the ground you walk upon- like you invented rawhide or something. Want to experience the God-Complex? Adopt a senior. Or a handicapped dog. Or a dog that has lived in puppy mill its whole life….etc. But I digress.

Bridg contacted me months ago- they were headed to Sydney! On a fab cruise from here around the continent and to NZ. Lovely! Could I recommend some places for them to visit as they would be staying in MY fair city for 3 nights before the ship set sail from Circular Quay (that’s prononced KEY, people) Ummm, yes. I can. And I practically mandated that they come over for dinner at Casa de Carruth. Bridg was excited- lots of wiener dog lovin’ to keep her bucket full, and when I mentioned that we’d have a mixed grill of steak and ‘roo- she wondered if I was serious. I was. They loved it- Stan said he preferred it to beef, as a matter of fact.

Funny thing, when I called them at their hotel the night they arrived, they both sounded looney. High, if you will. The many houred trip from Atlanta had been brutal. BRUTAL. She asked that night if we’d have ‘koala bear soup”- she was joking of course. But as I’ve learned here, only Americans say “koala bear.” So, do as the locals do, and say “koala.” (You’re welcome.)

Besides my [awesome] parents, Bridg and Stan are our first / only visitors. I can’t express how delightful it was to have them here. Truly. Besides the ‘roo, I “made” them eat pavlova, take the ferry to our house and buy screw top wine.

I hope to see you here too. You know who you are. Planes fly East AND West.

And to you, B and S- I say, Mercury?

 

Overated. Maybe.

Bali. I can’t think of that place without thinking of puking. Repeatedly. Because that’s mostly what I did.

You know what’s overrated? Seminyak- ie, going to Bali for the beaches when you already live in Australia (because I tell you, there are no more beautiful beaches on the face of the earth than those that we have in Australia.) What’s worth it? Ubud- further north- up in the mountains- green, lush, rice patties, monkeys, coconuts. If you go to Bali, skip Seminyak.

Here is R’s favorite pic of me there: What can I say? It was the rainy season. I knew that when I booked it. The kind that defies gravity and flies into your eyeballs and up your nose. But, it’s Bali. Rain be damned. (Except in photos….) IMG_6874

We traveled with these amazing people. Although we share the same nationality, we didn’t meet until we moved to Sydney. And I feel like I’ve always known them- or should have. I adore them both. You know how sometimes in life, you are gifted with a friendship that feels so stumbled upon, yet meant to be? That, readers, is GOLD. Tend it.IMG_6894

In Ubud, there is the Monkey Forest. These little guys are everywhere. They will snatch food and shiny objects off of your person faster than you can say “remove-your-earrings.” Caught this one napping.

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We rode past this place one night. In a $5 cab. (Things are SO CHEAP in Bali.) It’s a clothing boutique, I think. About lost my lens cap taking this pic out of the window…. But seriously? So completely random!!!

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There were all these scenes of people just living their lives. This guy is working his rice field. The birds are eating the worms that come up when he plows. Everybody wins.

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These boys. Working in the fields. Do you see that the one in front has an “I Love Bali” tee shirt on? They have a cane pole, cut in half, and it will be used for irrigation.

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And then, there is this place. The infamous “Hotel K.” My recommendations to you: Read The Schapelle Corby story. Or Hotel Kerobokan- both by Kathryn Bonella. Just don’t read them, like I did, whilst you’re in Bali. And use locks on your luggage.

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Bali was a remarkable experience, especially once we got up in to Ubud. We stayed at a gorgeous resort where they took care of me and my puking self as if I were a member of their family. I would absolutely go back. (Thank you, Pita Maha Resort and Spa.)

Ubud accomo

I cannot end this post without mentioning a highlight of my trip there- meeting Linda of the Bali Dog Refuge and being able to contribute toward the care of dogs there. There are hundreds of dogs that roam the streets, each dodging cars and motor bikes and that suffer from chronic neglect and a lack of medical care. Dogs in Bali are typically not fed, they are responsible for finding their own food. Some are more successful than others. There is a general lack of education in Bali regarding animal welfare- in fact in 2009, there was a “rabies outbreak” which resulted in companion animals being slaughtered en masse. One day, we had hired a driver to take us around shopping, and we happened to pass the centre. I googled it, emailed Linda, and she met me at our hotel the next day. I gave her all of our remaining rupiah. Hopefully, enough to feed some dogs for a good while- maybe some vaccinations, too. I am so so thankful that my partner supports me in my passion for animals emotionally and financially.

Every time I travel, I learn more about myself. Who I am, what I want, what I’m willing to do to get there.  What will you give up to “have it all?” Living my truth is important to me in experiencing an authentic life- one that I will be proud of, that I will lay on my deathbed and think, I’m happy with how that went. Good on ‘ya, girl.

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Bali Belly

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The dreaded Bali Belly found our corner of Seminyak this morning, and gave me a super gift: that of repeated upchucking. 4am, again at 7am then every hour on the hour until we had to get in the car to drive to our next destination- Ubud- which is where we are now. Once in the car, my schedule moved up to every 30 minutes. Nothing like puking on the side of the road into gutters and trash bags. Dislike. The driver, bless his heart, suggested “the lady like to go to town clinic?” and offered to go that way. YES, PLEASE. I also think that he began touching the offering on the dash, likely sending a silent message to his gods that the lady not hurl in his car.

Once we were all out of the car and in the clinic, R stayed with me, and our traveling mates, B and P, went on ahead to the new villa with our luggage to get things settled in. My blood pressure is low to begin with, but in situations of stress, it tends to drop to the point that my pallor takes on an appearance similar to that of a person who has not once been exposed to daylight. Double digit puking will do that to a gal.

It took em four tries to get the needle in me for the IV saline drip. FOUR. “Veins to small. Veins flat from de no watah inside body.”

Finally, and I do mean finally, line was in, they gave me the anti- nausea injection, some heavy duty probiotics, the worst tasting concoction of electrolyte solution evah and something else that I have no idea what it was. Began falling in and out of sleep, and suddenly we’ve been there 5 hours (slow drip IV.)

As we were just about to be picked up for the ride to the resort -BOOM- bali belly claims another- Guess who. Luckily we were already there and he didn’t need a line inserted, and that mattress was big enough for two. We were there another three hours.

Eventually all 4 of us succumbed to that curse, in varying degrees of intensity. We still haven’t narrowed it down to what it was- the food? Water? Beer? Suffice it to say, we are all being extremely careful about what goes in, and using hand sanitizer ( which I don’t really believe in) like it’s life force. Here’s to hoping for a better next 3 days.

Dog-less.

Dropped the dogs off at camp today for the next 10 days. They were SO excited to go- I pulled out the blue beds we use for camp and they went ape-shit. They know what those blue beds mean. The place I take them is all small dogs, no cages, play-play-play. For my little man who loves to eat poo, it’s like Duff’s Smorgasbord. (Anyone remember that place off of Jimmy Carter Blvd back in the 80’s?) Pug poo, Poodle poo, Pomeranian poo– you get my drift.

Trevor zoomed off without a backward glance, right into the fray with new and old friends. (See ya, mom, you can go now…..seriously, GO.) Got home about noon and went about the rest of my day with no dogs.

NO DOGS.

It’s so strange. I really kind of hate it. No little waggy tails or adoring eyes and my entourage is gone. I’ll never be without dogs. How do people do it? And why would you want to?

So, thanks Small Paws. Take good care of my babies. (And don’t kiss Trevor on the mouth.)

*And the reason that Thor is missing from the photo? Because he is always ALWAYS within 10 inches of me. Completely all up in my grill, and I’m good with that.

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Less choice. Its good for me.

Australia has 10% of the population of America, and 80% of the land mass. Its a gorgeous country. Wild. Desolate. Casual? Yes. But they don’t suffer fools easily.

After I got used to having to use the damn metric system here – everything is sold in kilograms, (and in grams that are less than that)…300 grams of bacon rashers / grouper / “minced” pork …yah, more on that later….anyhoo- the metric system is really sensible- seriously, why has the US not adopted it?? It totally makes sense. I had to deal with the lack of choices.

So, here, in New South Wales, which is the State in Australia that Sydney is in, where I live, the grocery stores are not stuffed with processed foods. And canned veggies. And frozen Hungry Man meals. At first, that really moved my cheese. And speaking of cheese, there is no extra sharp cheddar. But there is “tasty cheese.” And my favorite- “Extra Bitey tasty cheese…” How descriptive is that? I love it. But you know what? These economies of scale (this term would surely scar my Economist husband) have taught me to be less wasteful and more purposeful. For the first time in my life, I can prepare a meal based on what is in the fridge, no recipe.

I’ve decided that I don’t need 70 options of soap. And 50 options of deodorant. And 100 options of conditioner. Heading to Priceline makes my life MUCH easier. Conditioner for my dry colo(u)red hair? There are 5. Sweet. I can choose from 5. Easy. Done. Check.

It’s funny, how we grow. How we learn to appreciate things that we used to see as limitations. As boundaries. How will you grow this year? How will you view the things that are in your life that you see as limiting your freedom or your choices?