30 by 30 – Cooking up a storm

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November 2, 2014 at 8:48 pmCategory:30 by 30 | Food | Life as we know it

Back when we first moved to Sydney, I found myself checking out West Elm/Pottery Barn/Williams-Sonoma on a Thursday night for new homewares, when I noticed that Williams-Sonoma offered cooking classes. I mentioned it to Mr Posy (who has come a very long way since he was first learning to cook, and now regularly puts me to shame), and he also thought it sounded like a fun idea (and it meant that I could cross off an item from my 30 by 30 list), so I made a mental note to book us in for a class. As it so often does, time got away from me, but in August I finally had a look at the calendar and booked us in for a class – which we went to last week!

We were originally booked in for a ‘Date Night: Marrakech’ cooking class (which I mostly chose based on the date of the class), but they contacted me in September to say that unfortunately they had to cancel the Marrakech cooking class and that it was now a ‘Date Night: Tapas and Sangria’ class. They gave us the option of going ahead with this class, choosing a different class on another date, or obtaining a refund – we chose to stick with the class on the same date (they had me at Sangria!).

I’d had a bit of a rough fortnight at work, so I was fairly exhausted and almost considering piking on the class, but I quickly changed my outfit (Mr Posy and I both wore white shirts. To a cooking class. Who does that? Total amateurs!) before I could change my mind – and I’m so glad we went.

Williams Sonoma

I wasn’t really sure what to expect – would we be cooking or just watching? As I sipped sangria, completely oblivious to the cooking stations around the kitchen, I decided we must just be watching. The chef, Hulya, explained that she would be cooking three dishes, and then we’d also get to have a crack at making the third dish. Oh…

The first dish put in front of us was the Gambas al ajillo. Oh my word, amazing. What’s more amazing, was that I managed to get through the shrimp without spilling sauce all down my top…

Gambas al ajillo

As we all devoured the shrimp, bread and sauce, Hulya started putting together the flan (so it would have time to set), explaining that it always helped if she fed the participants while she was preparing the other two dishes. I think the term ‘hangry’ was even thrown about. As she had with the shrimp, she explained each step as she went, showing us the consistency that we were looking for (with the custard), and passing around ingredients for us to look at and smell.

Once the custard was ready, it was poured into loaf pans and put away to set – and on to the meatballs. Hulya went through each step of the recipe, explaining what to look for, what consistency the sauce should be, how long to reduce everything down – and after a quick taste, it was our turn!

Seeing as Mr Posy is such a whiz in the kitchen these days, I left him to chopping up the onions (though Hulya did show us a new technique which meant no tears!). And also mixing up the meat and squishing the meatballs. I chopped the parsley. And the almonds. And mixed them up with olive oil, saffron and paprika. For those playing along at home, I made the sauce.

Cooking

Token shots cooking the meatballs.

Meatballs

The end result looked and tasted a little bit amazing. Albóndigas en Salsa de Almendra. Meatballs in almond sauce. I will definitely be making these at home, but maybe with a little less garlic.

In the interest of leaving room for chocolate flan (and more sangria), we packaged up most of the meatballs to take home for later.

Flan

This flan was delicious. The mix of dark chocolate and chilli confused my tastebuds a little initially, but was incredible. The caramel/toffee was a little sweet, so I couldn’t get through it all; the flan would have been off the charts with some strawberries and/or a little cream – something I can’t wait to try again at home!

All in all, we had a really fabulous night – the class was fantastic, really well organised, and a lot of fun. I will definitely be booking in future classes with Williams-Sonoma. It was fun to learn new dishes with Mr Posy, and the classes would also make a fun girl’s night out. Importantly, we asked for the sangria recipe before we left – with the weather starting to heat up, it will be the perfect accompaniment to a summer barbeque.

Feels like home to me

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October 27, 2014 at 6:00 amCategory:Life as we know it

Sydney

As of three weeks ago, we’ve been in Sydney for one whole year!

Three hundred and sixty-five days. Fifty-two weeks. Twelve months. One year. It’s amazing how quickly time passes! The past year has been a total whirlwind – interstate move, new job, wedding. Nothing like a bunch of major life events all at the one time!

Some days, I still have to pinch myself. It’s hard to believe that a year ago, after packing up our little life in PosyTown, we said farewell to our family and friends and boarded a one-way flight to Harbour-City. I just can’t believe that we’ve lived in this beautiful city for 12 months now. Yet at the same time, I feel like we’ve lived here forever, and I can barely remember a time before Sydney. PosyTown feels like a lifetime ago.

We had dinner with some very old friends who were passing through the night after our Sydney-versary, and speaking with them made me realise that moving, and moving interstate, isn’t just some tiny little thing. Not only do you have to find a new place to live, pack your whole house up and shift it interstate then unpack, you have to find a new doctor, dentist, hairdresser, start a new job, make new friends… It’s not easy, and I’d be fibbing if I said the past year had been a walk in the park, but it also hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be. Completely exhausting yes, but not so difficult.

Coffee

It still feels very surreal that we made the move I always dreamed we’d make and that we do actually live here now, but we are settled. We have our weekday and weekend routines. As much as we like to explore new cafes and restaurants, we also have our favourites where we often find ourselves again and again. I haven’t yet made an effort to get into team sport since we’ve moved down, but it is something I want to look into for the coming year. Making friends in a new city is not easy, so I am grateful that we already had extended family and friends here as part of our instant support base – it has helped, a lot. I miss seeing Niece and Nephew Posy every day, watching them grow, but they left PosyTown for Melbourne not long after we moved, so now they’re only an hour’s plane ride away, instead of a four hour flight.

After dreaming of our Sydney move for so many years, I had that little worry at the back of my mind – What if it doesn’t work out? What if it isn’t everything I’d always hoped it would be? I also worried about Mr Posy – he’d previously been a little hesitant about moving so far from everything we knew – What if he hated it? What if it made him completely miserable? I needn’t have worried. It has been more amazing moving here than we could have ever hoped, and surprisingly, I think Mr Posy actually loves Sydney even more than I do. I certainly didn’t see that one coming! In fact, I wouldn’t have thought it could ever be possible.

Celebrating Sydney

This beautiful city treated us with spectacular weather to celebrate our Sydney-versary – we enjoyed sangria and seafood in the sunshine down at North Bondi, while reminiscing over everything that has happened in the past twelve months, and talking about our plans for the years to come… and then because we hadn’t indulged enough, we finished off our day with a trip to the Messina Dessert Bar…

Dessert

Our new chapter has only just begun.

Under my skin

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July 29, 2014 at 6:00 amCategory:Life as we know it

Nails on a chalkboard. Crunching. Slurping. Belching. Singing out of tune. Scraping against ice in the freezer, or a chair scraping across the floor. Cutlery screeching across crockery. Throat clearing. Nails being filed. Chewing gum. Teeth being drilled at the dentist.

What noises make your skin crawl?

As is often evidenced by my ranting on Twitter, for me, it is noisy eating. Though the guy sitting in front of me on the bus last week hocking back logies (snorting back his boogers) was definitely a close second.

Somehow, I always seem to end up surrounded by these people. Perhaps it’s just because it drives me so crazy, that I notice it more – like only really noticing that the supermarket has a baby aisle once you’re having a baby (or a friend has a baby), or seeing a certain car brand or type everywhere you go only once you are in the market for that car?

Noisy, crunchy food is one thing, but it surprises me just how common people chewing with their mouth open seems to be. People who are often around my age – certainly old enough to know better. Has a family member or very close friend never told them that it’s extremely poor manners to chew with their mouth open and/or speak with their mouth full? Don’t even get me started on those who look and sound like a cow chewing the cud when they’re chomping down on gum…

On public transport, it is easy enough to move carriages when somebody is chewing in my ear, or I try to ignore it if I know my stop isn’t far away, but there always seems to be at least one in my workplace (no matter where I work) – and as much as the sounds are enough to drive me right out of the room, I really can’t just get up and move away. Especially when they eat all. day. long. Currently, I have two people in the general vicinity of my desk who like to munch on noisy food (what are they eating – gravel?), rustle in paper bags before chewing loudly (one with his mouth open), noisily slurp soup/hot drinks/from straws when they reach the bottom, make out with their strawberries, proclaim “aaaaaahhhh” after each sip of their tea, and the best bit – belch loudly after they’ve finished eating.

I am in Hell.

It would be okay if I could time my lunch break to be out of the office while they eat, but these two snack right throughout the day. I can’t very well ask my boss if I can move desks – “Why do you want to move?” “Oh because I am going to scratch my eyeballs out if I have to listen to the people around me masticating in surround sound every single day for one minute longer.” I have taken to wearing headphones, but I have to say, the level that I need the music to drown out the munching and slurping is going to seriously impair my hearing.

It’s really only a matter of time before I’m reduced to a rocking, crying mess underneath my desk, or I completely lose my sh’t with them and tell them to chew with their f’cking mouth closed.

I can’t really see my workplace implementing a No Eating at Your Desk Policy any time soon, and while I like the thought of anonymous passive aggressive notes in theory, they’re really not my style (instead I just publish ranty posts on my blog…), so perhaps it is time to invest in ear plugs. I just have to work out how to explain them to my boss.

Getting stuff done

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July 9, 2014 at 6:00 amCategory:Life as we know it

Life Admin

I wanted to title this post “Getting sh’t done”, but decided against it. Seemed a little smutty.

One of the benefits of my new job (which really isn’t so new anymore) here in Harbour City is the ability to accrue flextime. I know, I know – it’s hardly revolutionary, but it’s new for me. Don’t get me wrong, my boss back in PosyTown knew that I put in extra hours and she was absolutely amazing and very generous when it came to time off, but it’s great to be working within an official framework, where all our hours are officially logged. I haven’t made as much use of this arrangement as I could have, and I certainly haven’t been taking the full six days per quarter (and have so far only really used the days that I have had off for travel), but I am trying to embrace this whole ‘work-life balance’ thing – something I have never been very good at.

I’ve been keeping a list of things that I needed to do, that could only really be done on weekdays during work hours but were too time-intensive to do during my lunchbreak, for some time now, and I decided that I would finally put one of my flex days to good use – to get through my to-do list. I also tried to arrange a couple of coffee dates with friends I have been wanting to catch up with, but the Universe conspired against me and those dates weren’t to be. A good thing, really, as it turned out I did need the whole day to get through all my tasks.

I declared last Friday my ‘Life Admin Day’. You know – a day dedicated to calling banks, sorting out your super fund/s, getting papers together to send off to your accountant, calling your health fund, sorting out stuff around the house and with the furchildren etc etc. I was on a mission and I was determined to get through my list, and some of Mr Posy’s, as it turned out.

About half an hour into Life Admin Day, I started worrying that it would be a total bust. Websites were down, I couldn’t log in to online portals, papers weren’t ready, people on the telephone weren’t helpful… I took a deep breath, sipped my coffee, and continued on to the next items on my list, instead of becoming completely hysterical that my day wasn’t working out the way I had hoped. Fortunately, by the time I worked my way through the rest of the list, systems came back online and I was then able to action the items that I had been struggling with at the top of the list. Throw in a trip to a bank, and I WAS DONE. I got through everything on my list, including sorting out an account I had been meaning to close for the past, oh, six years… Oops.

The best bit about my day off? Aside from feeling absolutely elated at crossing off all those niggling tasks that have been bothering me for some time (seriously, it felt almost as good as submitting the final essays for my uni degrees) – I had booked us in for a sunset ice skating session down at Bondi! And unlike when we went ice skating at the rink in Rockefeller Center (Christmas 2007), Mr Posy actually let go of the barricades this time around. I am toying with the idea of another skating session before it finishes up; I will have Mr Posy zooming around the ice in no time!

Bondi

The icing on the cake was that with all my life admin and chores out of the way on Friday, I actually had an entire weekend to play! With such amazing weather, this meant a two hour walk on Saturday, watching my beloved Roosters lose at Allianz, another walk on Sunday – this time along the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk looking out for whales – and coffee in the sunshine (something we have been enjoying on weekends a lot lately).

Here’s to getting sh’t done.

La Dolce Vita II (Q2 2014)

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July 6, 2014 at 4:29 pmCategory:Life as we know it | Quarterly Update

Sydney
And in the blink of an eye, another quarter (and season) has passed us by – it’s hard to believe that we are now more than halfway through the year. Christmas will be here before we know it!

Q2 2014:

Roosters games attended: 2 (ANZAC Day match vs Dragons [we won!], vs Raiders [we won!])
Swans games attended 1 (vs Geelong [we won!!])
Mornings/days spent at the beach: 4
Beaches visited: 3 (North Bondi, Manly, Palm Beach)
Movies watched: 4 (The Lego Movie, Philomena, The Other Woman, Veronica Mars)
Books downloaded on Kindle: 3
Books actually read on Kindle: 2
Concerts purchased tickets for: 0
Concerts attended: 1 (Kate Miller-Heidke)
Road trips: 1 (Canberra)
Visits from family: 2 (Mum, Joey)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored : 18 (Rushcutters, Grounds of Alexandria (technically a re-visit), Catalina, Alpha (re-visit x2), Lady J Café and Wine Bar, Zigolini’s, Bondi Picnic, Sahara Parramatta, Ruby’s Diner, The Boathouse Palm Beach, Nelson Road Tuckshop, Hinky Dinks, Le Cafeier, Coco Noir, Good Brother [Canberra], Bar Indigo, Public Dining Room, Gertrude & Alice)
Celebrations: 3x birthdays (Molly, Gems, Niece Posy [via Skype, ha!]), 1x baptism
Festivals/events attended: 4 (Easter Show, Wills and Kate do Manly, Vivid, Supanova)
Flex days taken from work: 0.5 (Before Easter)
Work adventures: 2 (Speaker on 1x conference panel, 1x office move)
Public Transport adventures: 1 (Stuck on train for two hours, for a trip that takes 15 minutes)

Q2 2014

While this quarter has been quieter on paper (or rather, on screen), I am absolutely exhausted. We temporarily moved offices back in February, and the longer commute was really wearing me down (two trains and a 45 minute commute each way, instead of the 15 minutes on one train that I’m used to), and I was putting in long hours as work was quite hectic at the time. Throw in the cooler weather and the earlier sunset, and I was ready for bed as soon as I walked in the door each evening! Thankfully, we moved back into our city office at the end of June, work has calmed down somewhat, and I am getting used to fewer daylight hours.

Mr Posy and I have made long weekend walks with PosyDog a bit of a habit – we usually grab a coffee to go somewhere along the way, and seem to find ourselves somehow walking for a good two or three hours. Mr Posy made the comment the other day that I am “definitely solar-powered” – that I seem to have so much more energy and am much happier after a good stroll in the sun. It seems so obvious, but living in PosyTown I spent a lot of hours indoors in the air-conditioning for a good nine months of the year – seriously, I’d go from home to the car to work to the car to gym to home, with a weekly game of touch football and an occasional walk thrown in; I spent so little time outside – and it’s only since we’ve moved down here that I’ve noticed how much happier I am after a little exposure to some sun. It’s a little surprising that somebody living in PosyTown could end up deficient in Vitamin D, but I managed it; I’d definitely be interested to hear my results at my next health check!

This quarter marked both six months in Sydney, and six months of marriage for us. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that we haven’t even been here a year, because it feels like we’ve been here forever, and some days it’s hard to believe that we’ve been here as long as we have, because it feels like we only left PosyTown last weekend! I still miss my old work family regularly, and I still look occasionally look for them when I’m walking around my office – I guess when you work with the same crew for five years, it takes a little while to adjust!

Mr Posy has had a few trips away for work – they usually seem to clash with with sporting events that we’ve had booked in for months… i.e. the Roosters vs Tigers game (my team vs Mr Posy’s team), and the Swans vs Geelong game (again, my team vs Mr Posy’s team). Thankfully, we had friends who were able to use our tickets to the Swans game, though I’m still a little gutted to have missed it… especially considering the Swannies won!

I have been madly ‘planning’ our trip to Bora Bora – which mostly just involves spending hours and hours reading about places to eat and cocktails that are available, looking up blog posts from people who have been there recently, and counting down the days until our own holiday.

Those that follow me on Twitter will know that I had a bit of an adventure on public transport last week – my usual fifteen minute commute ended up taking two hours (mostly spent in underground tunnels) – at first I had to have a bit of a laugh, then I started to go a little stir-crazy, but then I was able to have a laugh about it again. I caught the bus the rest of the week – and discovered that I actually prefer the bus! It takes me about five minutes longer (however drops me off closer to work), but if the bus breaks down, at least I’m not stuck underground, and I can get off and walk…

Looking back, perhaps this quarter was a little busier than I first thought…

Sad for Summer

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June 13, 2014 at 9:00 pmCategory:Life as we know it

Beachin'

I was quite enjoying our seemingly eternal summer, but like all good things, it had to come to an end. The mercury dropped over recent weeks, freakishly climbed again to summer-like temperatures around Easter, before seriously dropping once more this past week. After packing away our beach towels and bathing suits and pulling out jackets, boots and warm knits, I have finally come to accept that I will not be hitting the beach any time soon.

We have had much to keep our minds off the beach, however –  festivals and fun events (we attended the Royal Easter Show for the first time), amazing meals in some lovely restaurants, and many many coffees out and about.

As well as a visit from Wills and Kate (sorry- Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) over Easter (ha!), we were also very fortunate to have a few fleeting visits from family, and friends (who we consider family).

It wasn’t until I caught up with my station girl J and her fiancé over dinner (on their stopover in Harbour City before jetting off to the US for three months) that I really realised just how much I have been missing my people. I knew I was missing our family and friends, but I think, for the most part, I’d been able to quash those feelings – until we met up at Alpha for dinner, where I found myself fighting back tears because I was so happy to see my beautiful friend. After a good catch up over a few glasses of wine, an amazing Greek feast, and a walk around this gorgeous city, by my beloved bridge and the sails of the House, I said farewell, while my heart was both bursting with happiness and aching with sadness. As much the visit from my lovely friend just made me miss her more, it was also just the recharge that I needed.

It’s hard to be sad for too long in such a beautiful city, especially considering Vivid Sydney kicked off only a few days after J’s visit! Mr Posy and I always tried to time our visits to Sydney to coincide with Vivid – it is one of our favourite events on the calendar, and this year’s festival was more amazing than ever. As part of Vivid Live, we saw Kate Miller-Heidke at the Opera House – I have never been so mesmerised at a concert, ever. Her performance was nourishment for my soul that I didn’t even know I needed.

Vivid

Last weekend we took a roadtrip down to Canberra for the day to visit my mum, and we also dropped in to see my great aunt. It was an exhausting trip (an 8 hour round trip, for a 4 hour visit), but it was good to see Mum’s new abode and also spend time with my dad’s aunt and uncle. I am still recovering after driving both legs of the trip!

I want to drive up to Newcastle to visit my aunt and little cousins again soon, and we also want to take another trip down to Melbourne to see Niece and Nephew Posy (and BIL and SIL) – but our calendar is fairly packed for the next couple of months, so I will have to contend with Skype catch-ups for a little while yet.

It’s probably a good thing that the weather has cooled and we no longer spend our weekends lazing by the beach – with birthdays, baptisms, NRL games, concerts, comic book festivals (don’t ask), dinners and drinks, roadtrips, and, oh, work, we just don’t have enough hours in the week to squeeze everything in. I won’t lie though – I am definitely counting down the days until I can get back in the water… and shortly after fly out to Bora Bora!

La Dolce Vita (Q1 2014)

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April 27, 2014 at 6:28 pmCategory:Life as we know it | Quarterly Update

When I lived up in PosyTown, I had all the time in the world (well, I did once I’d finished studying, anyway), but rarely felt that I had anything interesting to blog about. Now, I live in this amazing city and have plenty to write about, but I have been too busy exploring Sydney that I have had little time to cobble a post together.

As we’re now fast approaching the month of May, I thought an update on our first quarter of 2014 would be prudent.

Q1 2014:

Roosters games attended: 4 (World Club Championship: vs Wigan Warriors [we won!]; Telstra Premiership games: vs  Rabbitohs [we lost], vs Eels [we won!], vs Manly [we lost]).
Mornings/days spent at the beach: 16
Beaches visited: 4 (Bronte, North Bondi, Avalon, Freshwater)
Movies watched: 14 (Saving Mr Banks, August: Osage County, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Book Thief, Wolf of Wall Street, About Time, The Heat, I Give it a Year, Frozen, Her, Ruby Sparks, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Moonlight Cinema session), The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, Anchorman II (Moonlight Cinema session)).
Books downloaded on Kindle: 17
Books actually read on Kindle: 6
Concerts purchased tickets for: 4 (Katy Perry, Tina Arena, Lady Gaga, Kate Miller-Heidke)
Concerts attended: 0
Road trips: 1 (Newcastle to visit my aunt and little cousins)
Trips taken: 1 (Melbourne to see BIL, SIL, and Niece and Nephew Posy)
Trips booked: 1 (Bora Bora!)
Visits from family: 3 (Mum + brother, Dad, Mum)
New cafés/restaurants/bars explored: 11 that I can remember off the top of my head (The Wine Library, The Boathouse Balmoral, Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel, Opera Bar (okay, a re-visit, have been once before), Flat White, The Chalkboard Café, Café Salina, Swell Restaurant, Chiswick (okay, another re-visit, went once before in the lead up to the wedding), The Tea Salon, Panania Hotel…)
Birthdays celebrated: 3 (Me, PosyKitty, my friend’s little boy – cowboy themed party!)
Festivals/events attended: 5 (Taste of Sydney, Four Thought at the Opera House, Alain de Botton at the Opera House, book launch, Yoko Ono’s ‘War is Over’ at the MCA)
Flex days taken from work: 3

Q1 2014

Our weekends the past few months have largely revolved around the beach, and most surprisingly, Mr Posy has been the driving force behind this. I am so glad that he rediscovered his love for the beach, to the point that I had to drag him home, because it really is my happy place. If I’m being completely honest, I suspect that he would have dragged me along to the beach even if he didn’t enjoy it himself, because of how much happier and more relaxed (less anxious/stressed) I am after a dip in the ocean … but aren’t we all?

My birthday this year was a very quiet affair – no morning tea at work or after-work drinks with friends, and no little people here to help me blow out my candles. Mr Posy did take me out for a dinner however, AND he made me my favourite cake – Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse Cake. He also treated me to breakfast at The Boathouse in Balmoral (and more time at the beach), so I had a pretty relaxing birthday weekend!

We managed to squeeze in a trip down to Melbourne to see my BIL, SIL and Niece and Nephew Posy (they moved south shortly after we left PosyTown – thankfully they’re now only one hour away by plane instead of four!) – I really miss being able to wave to them from my front patio. Niece and Nephew Posy are growing so quickly, and it was so hard to say “see you later” (always “see you later”, never “goodbye”). On our last night in Melbourne, Niece Posy’s teddy bear ‘said’ to me “I’m going to miss you Aunty Posy”. I can’t tell you how hard it was to fight back the tears. I knew it would be tough moving away from them, but I didn’t realise that I would feel like a huge chunk of my heart was missing. I am thankful for Skype and short plane trips!

Most excitingly this past quarter, Mr Posy and I booked a holiday for later in the year – a first anniversary/belated honeymoon trip… to Bora Bora! It has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I am over the moon that this dream will soon become a reality. I have been busy reading travel books and forums, scouring the interwebs for travel reviews and photographs, and counting down the days. Unlike other trips that we plan, there will be little structure to this holiday (aside from a dinner at Villa Mahana that I have already booked in) – and I can’t wait! I may already be planning a return visit, before we even get there…

All in all, we’ve had a pleasant start to 2014, and it’s hard to believe that we’ve been living here for nearly seven months already – and married for almost six! I don’t know why I thought time would slow down living here; instead it seems to fly by at double-speed.

Looking back on 2013: A belated Year in Review

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February 14, 2014 at 9:40 amCategory:Life as we know it

Given we’re through the first month of the new year and fairly well into the second, television has resumed its regular programming, school is back in session (traffic, uggggh), annnnnd I just had a birthday, I can no longer deny that it is now well and truly in 2014.

I know I am a little LOT late with my ‘year in review’ post, but I wasn’t quite ready to let 2013 go – it was a huge year for me; my biggest year yet.

The First Quarter

Thinking

As has become the custom for us, we marked January with a trip to Sydney. Sidenote: I’m not sure what we’re going to do now that we actually live here?! We caught up with friends, ate too much, met with wedding vendors, and celebrated a friend’s gorgeous little boy’s second birthday.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t always the best company – I had discovered a lump a month earlier (Christmas! Best gift yet!), and being particularly stupid I had decided to bury my head in the sand (hoping it would go away), only to rediscover the lump on our trip away. Pretty stupid at the best of times, incredibly stupid when you have my family history. After crying hysterically to Mr Posy, I made an appointment with my GP (who was also Mum’s GP and had diagnosed her cancer) for when I returned to PosyTown. I cried even more when my GP referred me on for an ultrasound, saying “We need to get this looked at”… Thankfully, it was just a false alarm; however it did prompt me to quite seriously look at my lifestyle and how I was treating (or not treating) my body, and make necessary changes.

Community Service Announcement: Get your girls out (and the rest) – see your GP and get a health check. If something doesn’t feel quite right, have it looked at, don’t just hope it will go away.

The rest of the quarter involved drowning in huge changes at work (and all the additional work that these changes created) and supporting staff through said changes. Explaining to staff, who after many years working together had become like family, that there would not be a position for them in a new structure was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career. Thinking about it now still makes me feel sad and uneasy. I can’t even rationalise it to myself as one of those “growing experiences” that “only makes you stronger” – it was an experience I could have done without.

PosyTown is such a transient place, and as with every year, I said goodbye to more dear friends who rode off on their way to greener pastures – always hoping that it would soon be my turn to leave.

Needless to say, my heart was pretty heavy and I shed many tears during the first quarter of 2013.

Quarter Two

Sydney

Fortunately, the second quarter balanced out the first.

After many years of balancing surviving work and study, I finally donned a cap and gown, and walked across the stage to collect my degrees. I don’t know who was more proud – me, Mr Posy, or my parents. I am missing study, but I’m not quite ready to throw myself back into another degree just yet. For now I am enjoying making travel plans, exploring Harbour City, and researching possible future courses.

We took another trip to Sydney, this time for a friend’s baby shower and to meet with our priest in the lead up to the wedding. I was far more relaxed and in a far better head-space than our previous trip, and we had a wonderful time catching up with friends. I went back to PosyTown feeling refreshed after our very quick trip away.

Niece Posy turned three, and she had a Minnie Mouse themed party. I tried my hand at cake pops for the first time, and will never ever forget my little niece’s reaction when she saw the finished product. I had so much fun helping my SIL with the party-prep, to the point of finding myself designated as face painter for the big event. Luckily the three year olds were quite impressed with my basic flower, love heart and a little glitter; the older children, on the other hand, were not quite as forgiving of my ‘skills’…

Quarter Three

Chaos

Chaos. Bedlam. Total pandemonium.

All the changes at work that had been brewing for months with the restructure hit boiling point. It was an incredibly challenging time – but I can honestly say that it was made somewhat easier working with and for such amazing people. I have many decades in my career ahead of me, and I am sure it won’t be the last major restructure that I have to stomach, but I’m thankful that my first experience with such significant organisational change was with such an incredible bunch of people.

I said farewell to more friends leaving PosyTown, but I also said hello to my very dear friend who was back visiting after two years living in the UK, so it wasn’t all bad.

I found out that I had won a job in Sydney! I received two job offers within days of each other (and came *this* close to a third), but with one permanent and one on a temporary contract, it was an easy(ish) choice with such a huge interstate move to make. Telling work and our family and friends that we were leaving was much harder than I had anticipated, but the opportunity really came at the right time for Mr Posy and me.

I took Niece Posy to the Royal PosyTown Show for an Aunty & Niece Day Out, and we had so much fun checking out the cows, goats, chickens, horses and fire trucks. Gosh I miss that kid. She and Nephew Posy are so sweet, and I miss them every single day. Fortunately they moved down to Melbourne with BIL and SIL, so they’re now only an hour flight away (instead of four!), but I do wish they were still only across the road.

Mr Posy and I took another trip to Sydney – this time for wedding prep (nothing like leaving dress shopping and the menu tasting to only a few months before the big day!), to meet a friend’s new baby, and to meet my new employer. It was a quick trip, but the weather was amazing, I got to spend time with some of my closest girlfriends, and it was exciting knowing that we would soon be calling Sydney “home”.

A few weeks later we took one last trip from PosyTown to Sydney, this time to find a place to live! We returned to PosyTown just in time to pack up our little life (which surprisingly filled a huge truck) and send it on its way to Harbour City.

The Final Quarter

Dream then do.

I think we managed to cram maybe a year’s worth of activity into the last few months of 2013.

I finished up in my position in a team where I had worked for the past four and a half years (with the same employer for six years), said our goodbyes to family and friends, and caught a one-way flight to Sydney. Moving to Sydney was a dream around ten years in the making, and it felt (and still feels) so surreal finally making it happen.

Our new life in Sydney kicked off on the right foot, when my beloved Roosters WON THE GRAND FINAL – and we were actually there to witness it. It was a nail-biting game, and I will never forget the moment when Jennings basically put his body on the line for an amazing try that turned the game back in our favour. A fellow female Roosters supporter in the seat in front of us turned to me – we stared at each other incredulously for a minute, before giving each other the biggest high-five. It still makes me tear up just thinking about it. I have been trying to brainwash telling my little Manly-supporting cousins (now 8 and 10) that they have been barracking for the wrong team for years – I may have rubbed in our victory when we finally caught up with them a couple of weeks ago…

We had a little under a week to unpack our home, before I started work – it was an adjustment going from a three-bedroom house with ample storage, to a two-bedroom terrace with only one built-in cupboard and a much smaller living space. While we had purged our lives of things we no longer needed when packing in PosyTown, we used the opportunity to further simplify our lives and rid ourselves of junk. It was incredibly cathartic.

After working for the same employer for the past six years, it was a little strange starting a new job. I’d managed to develop a nasty chest infection in the week between arriving in Sydney and starting work, so the first few weeks completely knocked me about. I am still adjusting to a less frenetic pace than I was used to in PosyTown (a pace which I secretly enjoyed), but the people are nice, so I can’t complain.

One of the highlights of 2013 for me was of course getting married, and also having all our family and friends in Sydney to celebrate in the lead-up to our wedding. Niece and Nephew Posy completely lost their minds when we picked them up from the airport, however I still can’t decide who was more excited over our little reunion – them or me. While the weather wasn’t amazing (torrential downpours, anyone?), we did manage to get in a daytrip to Taronga Zoo, and the rest of the time was spent at the Aquarium in Darling Harbour, eating out for breakfasts and dinners, walking around shopping centres like mall-rats, and of course gearing up for our wedding celebration. We had an amazing dinner with our bridal party and immediate family a couple of nights before the wedding – it was so nice to have everybody together before the madness started.

I will save the wedding post for another day, but we had a truly beautiful day that exceeded all our expectations and was more amazing than we could have ever imagined. Mr Posy and I felt so incredibly humbled to be surrounded by all our family and friends, many of whom travelled such a long way to be there. I don’t think  I will ever tire of looking at our photos and watching our wedding highlights video…

After not managing to catch a single one of the concerts that we’d planned during the first three quarters of the year, we finally squeezed a few in – Ricky Martin and Taylor Swift for me (both of which Mr Posy also surprisingly enjoyed; they put on a great show), and Muse for Mr Posy (and okay, partly for me also).

The time came to say farewell to my gorgeous friend (and beautiful bridesmaid) who returned to the UK for what sounds like another two years minimum. I’m just grateful for all the mix-ups with her visa paperwork which meant she was home for longer, and meant that she didn’t have to do a crazy flight back to Australia for the wedding, only to have to get on the plane back across the pond the very next day.

Mr Posy and I finally took our first real road trip, down the coast to spend Christmas with my grandparents. While it took us around six hours each way, it was such a nice drive – so nice that Mr Posy who has always been Mr Anti-Road Trips is now keen to take more of them – and it was the perfect trip away to recharge after such a crazy few months.

As it was our first “married” New Year’s Eve (and our first in Sydney), I soon found myself manically scouring the web for ideas of where we might go on the night to ensure we started 2014 with a bang. In the end, Mr Posy talked me down off the proverbial ledge, and we spent the evening eating dinner at home and watching movies. I managed to stay awake for the “family fireworks” (which I could just see from where I had positioned myself on the couch), but fell asleep barely ten minutes before the main event. It was the perfect way to start our first year of marriage, and our first year in Sydney – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Epilogue

While this post is long overdue, I figure better late than never. I needed to write it – it’s important to me to look back and reflect on the year that was; to celebrate the good times and mourn the bad, to step back from it all and gain a little perspective, and to stop and really appreciate the people in my life and the moments I have with them.

I am still finding it a little difficult to really embrace 2014 (maybe I should have stayed awake for those midnight fireworks after all, ha!). I can’t decide if it’s because so much happened last year and I’m still processing it all, or if I simply don’t want to believe 2013 is over. It certainly was not always an easy year, but 2013 will forever be a special year for me, and one that I will treasure always.

I can’t wait to see where 2014 takes me.

Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

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January 8, 2014 at 7:36 pmCategory:Life as we know it

North Bondi

Aren’t summer holidays just the best? All these years, I’ve had no idea just how much I was missing out.

Three occasions aside (three – 2005: I spent a few days down with my Nan and Pop and the rest of the family as we hadn’t had a Christmas away since 1995; 2007: Mr Posy and I went to the US for Christmas; 2009: Mr Posy and I went to Sydney for a few days where it rained the whole time), I’ve always worked the period between Christmas and the New Year, instead choosing to go away in late January (closer to my birthday!). Back in PosyTown, it was usually a slower (and quite lonely) time in the office which meant that I was able to catch up on work (and filing, ugh) while the phones were quiet and there were fewer interruptions, so Mr Posy and I always chose to work through. I always felt a little jealous when my colleagues would come back to work in the new year looking and sounding refreshed and happy, while I was completely exhausted, but I had our trip away to look forward to.

Having recently started a new job down here in Harbour City and having just had two weeks off for our wedding in November, taking time off over Christmas hadn’t even crossed my mind – so I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out that our office shuts down for nearly a fortnight! I worked until just after midday on Christmas Eve, when Mr Posy drove into the city to pick me up, so that we could drive down the coast to spend Christmas with my grandparents. My colleagues had all warned me about horror traffic, so I was bracing myself for a very very long and tedious drive; however Mr Posy and I had the highway largely to ourselves. The drive is fairly spectacular; I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times – it really is God’s country down that way. 

God's country

It was so lovely to spend Christmas with my Nan and Pop, and spend a few days just recharging our batteries. Nan has the most amazing garden and it was so nice to just potter around checking out all the flowers in the morning or afternoon sun (however my Pop’s tomatoes have seen better days!) while chatting with the cows over the back fence. We would drive down to the beach in the mornings after breakfast, before heading back in time for lunch, after which we’d spend time reading or napping or driving around Tathra/Pambula/Merimbula/Eden with my grandies. We took a trip to the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre for milkshakes – I had been talking these up to Mr Posy for weeks and weeks. My shake wasn’t quite as good as I remember, but doesn’t everything taste better when you’re ten? Nan served dessert after every meal (we had fruit after breakfast), and I didn’t feel even a little bit guilty over the extra calories. Not once. Living so far away in PosyTown, I didn’t get to see my grandparents nearly as much as I would have liked over the years – I am so happy that we can spend time with them now. 

Summer holidays

The drive back up the coast was a little slower – I could have walked faster between Ulladulla and Milton – and we stopped in to visit my brother in Wollongong for lunch on our way past, as he wasn’t able to make it down to Nan and Pop’s. I really have to give Mr Posy kudos for listening to around 13 hours of Taylor Swift and Tina Arena (more Taylor than Tina), with me singing along, on our drive down and back.

Mr Posy and I had a quiet night for New Year’s Eve back in Sydney – I saw the family fireworks from our couch (I could just see them from where I was sitting, if we’d gone for a walk around the block we would have had a slightly better view), but I missed midnight by about ten minutes. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open a second longer.

We spent the last few days of my summer break just as we’d started – mornings at the beach, afternoons reading and napping. I did sneak in a High Tea date at The Langham with a girlfriend, as well as a lovely lunchdate with another friend.

The worst part of my summer holiday? Having to go back to work. I am not-so-secretly a little glad that the weather has turned – it is a little less depressing having to go into the office each day when it is rainy and miserable outside. I just hope it clears up in time for the weekend!

Bright Lights, Big City

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December 19, 2013 at 6:30 amCategory:Life as we know it

Sydney

I still have to pinch myself daily.

Twelve weeks ago, a removalist van pulled up in our driveway back up in PosyTown and took away (almost) all our belongings. Two weeks later, we hopped on a one-way flight to Sydney.

Yes, this little Posy family finally moved to Harbour City.

It will come as no surprise that I love Sydney – I have always been quite vocal about my affection for this beautiful city. It is my happy place, a place that has always felt like home, and for the longest time I hoped that one day it would be.

We had been saying that we were moving for more years than I care to admit – it was always “next year, in six months time, at the end of the year, middle of next year, we’ve had to push it back again, we’ll get there soon, yes we are still moving” – but we are finally here. When an ex-colleague back at my work in PosyTown asked earlier in 2013 if I really thought we’d move this year, and whether I thought it would be before the wedding (which at the time was fast-approaching), I could barely contain my very defensive “YES!!!!” – however, at the time I wasn’t sure I really believed it any more than she did.

When I received the phone call letting me know that I was the successful applicant at the end of July for a job I had interviewed over the phone for, I was shocked. Mr Posy was far less surprised than I (love him and his unwavering support of/confidence in me and all that I do), but anxious. Telling our families was hard, there were tears. Telling work was harder, there were more tears. And there was support – so much support. Our family, friends, colleagues and bosses were all so wonderful and so supportive. Every time I would get nervous or scared or sad, my (then) boss would tell me I deserved this, that it was a new and exciting chapter of our lives, and to embrace it with open arms. She would tell me to give it my best shot, and that if I didn’t like it or it didn’t work out, I could always come back, that there would always be a place for me in PosyTown. I love her for that – for helping me keep things in perspective, for reminding me that moving to Sydney was what we wanted, for letting me know that it was okay to do something for us, that nobody would hold it against us, that our family and friends loved us.

Packing up your whole life and shifting interstate is no easy feat. We flew down two weekends before our moving date to inspect and apply for rentals, and we were very fortunate to secure a little terrace the day after we applied in a great location that would allow PosyDog and PosyKitty. This meant that we could take the remaining couple of days of our whirlwind trip a little easier, instead of sticking to the gruelling schedule of open-inspections that I had planned for us. We arrived back in PosyTown at 1.00am on the Monday morning, and our removalists arrived out 6.30am (we thought that one through well – we were still throwing things in and taping up boxes right before our flight to Sydney, as well as the morning that the removalists arrived). The house was packed up and we were back at work mid-morning.

We both worked right up until the day before our one-way flight. This is the one thing that I would have changed if I had my time again. We were working all day, then coming home and cleaning our place at night, leaving little time to spend with our family and friends before we left. We were still throwing clothes and shoes and other various belongings into our SIX suitcases the day of our flight (we’d had a late night at a Farewell BBQ our SIL threw for us the night prior), before and after brunch with our family. Somehow, we managed to make it to the airport that day, and with time to spare.

The farewells at the airport were hard. Mr Posy’s Ma cried. A lot. Saying goodbye to Niece and Nephew Posy was especially hard, and I cried a little right before boarding, but managed to pull myself together for a final wave, before crying a lot more on the plane. I was so happy to be catching our one-way flight down to Sydney, but I was sad to be leaving our loved ones behind.

Our arrival to Sydney was eventful. Our flight arrived at about 8.30pm on the night of a fireworks and pyrotechnics display as part of this little thing called the International Fleet Review. There were masses of people everywhere, streets were closed off, and our taxi driver decided he would leave us, our six large suitcases, three laptops, and two carry-on bags a little under a kilometre away from our hotel. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and I had no idea how we were going to get all our gear to our hotel. I rang the concierge, nearly in tears explaining that we had just moved to Sydney, that we had so many bags, that our taxi driver had deserted us, and two amazing attendants came down to our rescue. I will be forever grateful. While it wasn’t so funny at the time, I can look back on it now and laugh – what a way to start our new adventure!

We’ve been here for a little over two months now (nearly three months!), and I am still completely exhausted. But happy. Oh so happy. We’ve been all unpacked for a little while, the furkids are all settled in, and our place feels like home, but we’ve only just managed to do a proper grocery shop, instead of just popping up to our local to buy what we needed day-to-day. I think I felt like we were just on this extended holiday, like we lived in a serviced apartment or something, that we’d have to go back to our old life in PosyTown any day, so we didn’t really bother buying groceries.

I still can’t believe we live here, but at the same time, I feel like we have lived here forever.

Furkids