Sunday, September 30, 2007

Labor day

Or I suppose I should say labour day is tomorrow, apparently, so I have a much needed three-day weekend.

Day of rest

For the first time in absolutely ages I did pretty much nothing all day long. Delicious!

The one accomplishment is some late night cleaning. I've vowed to be better at housekeeping this move, so I scrubbed the bathroom, utility room and kitchen. The big accomplishment is actually a result of purchasing a ladder yesterday: after using it for its intended purpose of changing a lightbulb, I have set it up as a bookshelf. This means my mantles, which had been for books can now be "filing cabinets". Which means that the counters in the kitchen no longer have any paper on them. Which means that the kitchen is now just a kitchen (well, and computer room....)

Also lots of vacuuming difficult corners, which I hate doing but want to stay on top of.

Tomorrow I'll clean the front of the house and organize the random crap that is lying around up there.

And do something vigorous.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who knew?

According to wikipedia, 31.7% of Sydneysiders were born overseas! No wonder it is hard to meet Aussies here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Early mornings

I wish that my early waking weren't the result of jet lag, but it is lovely to be awake early. It is 8:10 am and I have already: cooked breakfast and washed up, done a load of laundry plus hand washables and hung them to dry, done a bit of yoga including head stands which I am starting to be able to do and enjoy, and made my bed.

Oh, and Sydney bird calls in the morning are a wonderful and strange symphony.

A nice welcome

Yesterday I saw my very first wild cockatoo, sitting atop the flag pole of my local pub. They are apparently everywhere here, but for some reason I have only seen pictures until now.

Driving rules II

The most horrifying bit of going to Italy was realizing that I was colliding with people on the streets there too, since I was keeping to the British side of the sidewalk! I hope, hope, hope it is only evidence that I have successfully linked foreign=stay to the left in my pea brain.

Back in OZ

It is 5:15 am local time, and I've been up, to varying degrees, for a while now.

The trip to Italy was a very interesting one, though not in the way that Italian travels are classically envisioned: it is quite different to go to a foreign country from a bad-ish spot of culture shock in an adopted country than from home.

While no 24 hour airplane journey (Sydney-Singapore 8 hours, 3 hour layover, Singapore-Rome 13 hours) can be termed "easy", I was surprised by how non-traumatic the flight and ensuing time change were. So I got to Rome in reasonably good shape. But man, I was in such a foul mood! I had no desire to speak in Italian, tour sights, navigate restaurants (good food, but language and cultural barriers to navigate). So I ended up spending most of my time reading mystery novels (great anti-jet-lag), visiting some American friends, and cooking at the apartment I was staying in. And as is the case here, the best bits were being with other Americans, which I find totally fascinating, since in the US I tend to seek out non-Americans. Fortunately, I have spent lots of time in Rome on a number of different occasions, so it was hardly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity squandered.

Siena was more my style. I love everything medieval, and Siena is all medieval. It also brought back fond memories of Orvieto. I found that by the time I got to Siena, my Italian had shaken off some of its rust, which helped with navigating the landscape.

The conference was a good experience. Interestingly, there I sought out the Aussies! (And a stray Kiwi). Perhaps that was because there were only two other Americans (whom I hung with as well) and a pretty big delegation from down under. I am still quite unsure where I fit in the academic landscape, but that is not a subject to get hashed out here....

Then I got the stomach flu. Which was just plain gross and ruined any improvement in mood.

I think being away might in the end have been good for me, since it has disrupted the anxious funk I was in before leaving. I have hardly thought at all about whether my sofa will fit since I have been back! And it was nice yesterday in my walk to work to realize that it was a familiar path.

Friday, September 14, 2007


So it appears that that lizard in my bathroom was on holiday from the lizard metropolis right outside my bathroom. The mulch is absolutely crawling with the buggers. Just a little bit creepy-crawly....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two more continents

I'm off tomorrow to Italy for a conference. Flying by way of Singapore. Don't know if I'll post from the road.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Missing volatility

I wish I better understood currency markets and macroeconomics in general. For whatever reason, the USD shot up in comparison to the AUD when the liquidity crunch was on, even though it was primarily a US-driven crisis. Almost all the gains have been lost, however, and it is back up to US$.85=AU$1.00. Boo.

Processing Power

I continue to be impressed by how much brain processing power even the most basic of activities takes me these days. It seems like every daily task needs to be re-learned in the silliest ways.

I am posting from home during lunch because I needed to come back to hang my laundry to dry. I tried to run the laundry as soon as woke up so that it could be hung before leaving for work, but of course, the first try didn't work. Apparently the taps weren't on far enough (don't know why that original load worked), and I only figured out what was wrong after an hour of ineffective fighting with the machine. So here I am.

The clothes are all safely drying now, though I don't have quite enough clothespins, so my socks may blow away.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hello world

Greetings from my fully connected house! For all y'all who have my various VoIP numbers, they are now in action!

Now I have no more excuses for not blogging more regularly....

Monday, September 10, 2007


It only now occurred to me that it is 9/11 here today. Strange, because it is 9/10 in NYC, so I don't know whether today or tomorrow should be my day of reflection. (The anniversary is important to me personally because I use it to mark my decision to stop singing. Not precisely correct but a reasonable day to use as the start of the changes that have led me to Sydney.)

Whatever day it is, I miss you towers.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I have a new washing machine. It is indeed another example of Aussies imitating Brits (well, maybe also has something to do with not wantonly consuming water and energy, but hey): like the British models, a full hot water load will take 2 hours and 57 minutes. Fortunately, there are shorter options, one of which I couldn't resist trying. So I now have clean sheets (which weren't very dirty to begin with so the 30 minute wash plus an extra 14 minute fast spin was sufficient).

And yes, I read a very useful econ article during the wash, so my hookey wasn't quite so brazen.

Then I tackled hanging my laundry. I have actually line dried laundry before (I have even handwashed all of my laundry routinely in Italy, but decided that was more than I am willing to do here), but still, it is a bit daunting to live without a drier. I find the idea romantic, but the reality a bit less so. Or at least, it is harder than it looks, and I felt decidedly unromantic while wrestling the sheets on to the line. Made all the worse because of course there was an old man standing on the one balcony with a view of my back yard, smoking a cigarette and watching the show.

Fortunately the sun is back out and it is windy today. Hopefully I'll get to sleep in some wonderfully fresh sheets tonight!

Budgie Smugglers

Perhaps the very best in Aussie slang. It is actually regularly used when referring to men's speedo bathing suits. I kid you not.

Open letter to Mr Lizard

Dear Mr Lizard (or is it Ms?),
Thank you for visiting my bathroom floor yesterday. It was nice to know the diversity of animal life living in my neighborhood. However, I do feel compelled to let you know that your beautiful brown camouflage was quite effective, and I almost didn't see you. I am quite a bit bigger than you and I would hate to squish you between my toes. It may be best if you didn't visit again.


PS: Thank you for the quite artistic bit of lizard poo you left as a present. It quite reminded me of the coil pottery we made in kindergarten. It was really a nice, lizard-size coil saucer. If my camera worked I would have taken a picture before composting it....

PPS: I hope you aren't poisonous. That would be a bummer.

Front door

One of the fun period details is the stained glass in the front door. Very typical.

Again, sorry 'bout the sideways picture....

Sun room

This is why I am paying $40 more per week than my absolute top of my rental budget. It doesn't look like much, I know, but there ya have it. And yes, they are sideways. Don't know how to rotate them. Anyone want to teach me how? The top one is the kitchen end, and the bottom one is the end that opens into the garden.

My house

The magnolia trees are in my yard...

Sydney tree blogging

Trees in Sydney are great. I know the lower of the pictures is too dark, but it is my favoritest tree in the city.... I'll get a better picture someday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I really do intend to show y'all pictures, I do. It is just that at the moment I can't find the cable that connects my camera to a computer. Soon. I promise. Really.

Sweet dreams

I spent my first night last night at what will become home. I slept very well and woke more gently now that my bedroom window does not turn into a heat-intensifying magnifying glass for the sun at c. 7:23 am.


It has been a busy weekend that has dribbled into the week. I have shifted the center of my gravity over to Glebe, and to do this, I borrowed a friend's car.

Yes, I drove a stickshift car on the left side of the road. I didn't kill anyone. I didn't bung the car. I got where I was going.

I did frequently turn on the windsheild wipers instead of the turn signal and exclusively use the driver's-side side-mirror since the rear-view mirror is in the wrong place.

But I survived. I can now do anything.