Thursday, October 30, 2003

Had my day off yesterday.

It was good, in that I got to sleep in, finally, but a little disappointing. I didn't get enough accomplished as I'd wanted to.

My haircut and pedicure took a little long so I only got an hour to shop on Bridge Road.

I did make it to my swing class and learned more of the Charleston. I am a total expert now! Went back to Scott's place afterwards just to teach him the new step (he'd gotten held up at work). His guests were impressed with our dancing abilities.

I'm impressed too.
Next step: dance teacher!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Have discovered that I will need about $4000 in order to complete my travels. That means that I will almost definately be in Melbourne for Christmas and New Years.

This is OK, since I like Melbourne a lot anyway.

I'm moving house tonight. Going to live in Brunswick West with Jill, a friend from Toronto who's now doing her MBA here. Scott has guests for the next little while, so Jill said it would be OK for me to stay with her.

Also, I found out where the free Pilates/Yoga classes are this week. However, I might be a little too sick to take advantage of them.

Excited about my day off tomorrow.
  • haircut
  • manicure/pedicure
  • outlet shopping
  • shoe shopping
  • yoga


    Also, I found out that my friend Scott, who writes RaptorBlog, has just gotten engaged! Congrats to them!
  • Monday, October 27, 2003

    Due to DayLight Savings, the time difference between me and home has changed. I'm now 16 hours ahead of everyone.

    If you're ever in doubt, just click here to work it out.

    PS: I'm in the state of Victoria now.
    Have discovered PhotoPic. Thinking of using it for my photos so that I'll stop using up all my server space.

    I've had better days.

    Still have the flu. Still at work.

    Yesterday, though, I did get a ride from my neighbour David to the Royal Botanical Gardens where I had to pick up my shifts for the Melbourne Cup week.

    Found out that I have conflicting shifts for Peter Rowland and GE, so I have to sort that out.

    I did manage to get a little lost, though, and ended up taking a nice walk, though I was a little too feverish to really enjoy it.

    Managed to get back in time just as the store I wanted to shop at was closed. Fantastic.

    Then I though, well, why don't I get money, since I owe Scott for the Great Ocean Road trip that I bought at the travel auction last week?

    Good idea, except that I forgot my passcode and entered it wrong 3 times! Now I'm locked out of my account for 24 hours. Sigh.

    And on top of it all, I can't find the Pilates/Yoga Studio that's supposed to be having an open week of classes this week. Double sigh.

    Finally I went home to eat the lamb stew that I'd made the day before and finally appreciated how crunchy brown rice can be, even after cooking it for over an hour.

    But at least I found out that my friend Lee sings opera and says she will teach me how to sing. And David gave me chocolate.

    Unfortunately, the weather forecast is 15-17 degrees and cloudy for the whole week. Damn Melbourne's spring weather.

    Sunday, October 26, 2003

    Well, I'd like to say I feel better, but I'd be kind of lying.

    I mean, I'm not hung over, but I think I have the flu.

    Left work early on Saturday. Had fallen asleep at my desk and my stomach was threatening to rebel.

    By the time I got home at noon, everyone else was still asleep. (Forgot to mention that Scott had again invited my friends over after the bar on Friday.)

    Tried to go back to sleep, but Seph (workmate) convinced me to get up so he could take me out for breakfast. Which was probably a good idea. Except for the part where I started to get a migraine.

    Went home for a nap, only to get up for my catering shift at the Port Melbourne Yacht Club at 6pm. Worked all night there. Clearly, hangovers are attractive, as I believe every single man there was hitting on me.

    Met a couple on the tram home who couldn't figure out the ticketing machine, so I helped them out and gave them a dollar to pay for their ride. It made me feel like a good samaritan.

    Sunday, I went to the Lygon Street Festival (an Italian street festival). Scott and I bought some comedy show tickets for us and our closest 10 friends - well, my 10 closest friends, as Scott doesn't really have any. ;)

    Then we stopped for a lovely strong coffee and bruschetta in a sidewalk cafe. It was difficult to keep myself out of all the lovely clothing shops, but I managed.

    On my day off (Thursday) I'm going to get my long-awaited haircut and go shopping on Bridge Road (where everyone tells me all the factory outlets are).

    Can't wait to buy a new white shirt and shoes!

    Friday, October 24, 2003

    Elvish Name: Larien Calaelen

    Hobbit name: Azaelia Deepdelver
    oh my gosh, what was I thinking?

    Ballet was good.

    BYO, so we brought cheap boxed shiraz. Then went out.

    Woke up 1 hour ago in a panic, having forgotten to set my alarm to get up for work.

    Now at work. Think I'm still drunk. Need sleep.

    Why didn't I call in sick? Didn't even know who to call.

    Might have to sleep at my desk.
    Going to the ballet tonight.

    Thursday, October 23, 2003

    Went to Swing class last night. Learned the Charleston... well, at least a few steps of it, anyway.

    Wandered over to Federation Square for the big Swing night in the Dance Hall. The SwingPatrol was in full, well, swing.

    Saw some fantastic dancers, and even managed to get Scott to try out our new Charleston steps.

    Fun, but I've never been more aware that I really need to practice more.
    My cat, Mao, has Urolithiasis.

    How is it possible that one cat can have so many problems?? I know he's just doing it to worry his mother and get back at me for leaving the country.

    I just wish he'd choose a cheaper way to do it.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2003

    GE might have blocked my site/email. Discovered after I was unable to access them, but still able to post via Blogger.

    Figures this would happen just when I really NEED it. GE blocks hotmail too and I'm not supposed to call anyone not work-related on my phone.

    So what to do when I have nothing to do?
    At least they fed us treats in honour of the big card launch today.

    Well, I'm off to take advantage of my much-beloved MS Outlook calendaring.
    My cubicle neighbour, David, just bought me chocolate. Biting into a Caramello Koala at the moment.

    I'm a happy girl.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003

    Learned how to dance flamenco last night at Federation Square.

    All part of the International Arts Festival Dancing in the Streets events.

    Some people (especially Andy, who is always fondly reminiscing about this) might remember that I won the prize for flamenco dancing at the Infinet 2001 Christmas party. The prize, of course, being the chance to dance infront of everyone to the tunes of my new CD. I think I heated the room with my face. But at least it was memorable...

    Anyway, NEW CAREER PATH: I think I want to be a flamenco dancer.
    Decorating the office at the moment. Blue Gold White. The colours of the new cards.

    How exciting and productive.

    Aloyz and I are a majik team. He's a virgo and I'm a leo. We're clearly meant for each other. Um, except that he's gay.
    I am an outstanding cook. Check out some of my most recent creations as Scott's personal chef:

    - chicken korma
    - hot veggie curry
    - marinated steak, potatoes with garlic butter and asparagus with cheese sauce
    - spaghetti bolognese
    - potato salad
    - homemade tomato soup
    - roast beef with carrots and roast potatoes
    - homemade pizza (bacon, onion, roasted red peppers/shitake mushrooms and goat cheese)

    Next up:
    Thai Red Curry
    So, not only do the Aussies rename things like "garbage" to "rubbish" and "cell phone" to "mobile", but they've gotta take over the pharmaceutical world too.

    I finally found out what Paracetemol is. It's just acetaminophen. They've taken Tylenol and named it "Panadol".

    Friggen Aussies.
    Starting to improve in yoga. Have been going quite regularly to the Yoga Arts Academy classes.

    It's a new style for me. KSHIN GATASTHA (don't ask me to say that). It's quite physically challenging, as opposed to the "Yoga in Daily Life" style that I was doing in Sydney.

    So I've been sore for the past couple of weeks. But I'm starting to get used to it. Well, sort of. STARTING to get used to the postures. My muscles are STARTING to let go and relax. Although I complain every time I get home, I feel so much better!
    Having so much fun at work.

    The launch of the card I'm verifying has been delayed, so we're still in "training".

    That means, we're all trying to stretch out whatever work we DO have.

    And getting to know each other really well on the pretext of "working together".

    And, of course, doing our own personal business, quietly.

    Saturday, October 18, 2003

    So I don't know where I've been for the past couple of months (I mean, aside from, like, everywhere) but I just read this excerpt from Sarah's blog now and am all teary-eyed:

    "i miss shawn syms and cathy bogaart intensely. we are all at different points in our lives and yet more than ever i want to seek them out and throw my arms around them. i suppose this is not surprising considering their roles in my life in the past 2 plus years. one part confident. one part confessor. one part cheering squad...
    cathy would be the rational supportive yet tough love friend in all those instances where i needed it. there are very few people out there who possess the honesty and caring that she has. i am lucky to be a friend of theirs. i count myself blessed."

    I am so lucky to have friends like this. Is that the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

    I'm so happy that she's happy again. It's just a small part of the "so much more" that she deserves.
    So at least Canada didn't lose horribly.

    I mean, sure they lost 68-6 to the All Blacks. But, according to my new Kiwi friends that I met at the game, Canada played with pride and held off New Zealand quite well.

    However, Melbourne is on fire with World Cup Fever. It's everywhere. So I'm really glad that I went to a game. It was a great feeling to make some friends there, too.

    After we all ended up at the Telstra Dome bar together, chatting, arguing, drinking, Barber invited our new Kiwi friends back to his place for more. So we all staggered back to the apartment and had some lovely Shiraz and crisp bread with butter, cheese and/or Vegemite. We actually made Scott try the Vegemite.

    He said pretty much the same as I did: It's not bad but it's not good. Why would you choose to eat that?

    I had a lovely conversation with Alvin, one of my Kiwi friends, about yoga. I promised to call him at 9am to get him to come to yoga with us the next morning.

    The best part of the night was when Barber tried to "help" me brush my teeth before bed. I nearly peed my pants, I was laughing so hard. I think some toothpaste actually stayed in my mouth. The rest dribbled down my chin and I managed to get some on my nose. Hot.

    Drunken nights are the greatest.

    This morning I wimped out of yoga class, since we'd gone to bed after 3am and I think I was still drunk. I figured it might not be too good for my balancing postures.

    Instead, I slept until 11am, made breakfast (Aussie bacon is so much meatier than American bacon) and went for a walk around the city, up to the Parliament buildings.

    And I discovered that Melbourne really is a fashion capital of the world. So many beautiful shops with all different clothes and so many beautiful people wearing so many cool styles.

    I just window-shopped since I can't afford anything. Although I need shoes, the shoes that I want are $195. So I decided I'd wait until I shop on Bridge Rd, where all the factory outlets are.

    But it was a goreous day for window-shopping. Sunny and 28 degrees. Although the wind was whipping some sort of pollen into my eyes and nose.

    Then Barber and I went to the Queen Victoria Markets again for ingredients for my famous pizza.

    I had told eveyone last night about this pizza and we'd invited the Kiwis over to sample. So I cooked and we ate and then Barber and I went to a show.

    Acrobat is a very cool, edgy circus act. Kind of reminded me a bit of the feel of Moulin Rouge. Dark sets, deadly serious mixed with subtle humour, scratchy old music, sounds of the needle going on and off a record, or of a tape player's "play/stop" buttons being pushed. Then speed metal or some other rough loud crazy music played by the DJ.

    The acrobats wore very little, were extremely well muscled and, oh ya, they were also pretty talented. One guy pulled a red kerchief out of his butt. It was a great show.

    Thursday, October 16, 2003

    Forced myself to go to yoga class last night, even though I was not at all motivated.

    "Scott?" I whined, "Can you make me go to yoga?"
    He did.
    So I did.

    And, wow, did I sweat. I was horrible, but it was good for me. I'm sure I'll get better.

    Same with swing dancing. Went to another class tonight. I've made some small progress. Still not a strong dancer, but getting a better feel for it.

    It's frustrating. I just wanna be GOOD at it right away. It looks so cool when you're good at it. At least it's fun in the mean time - except when you're dancing with a guy who can't lead.

    Also went out for drinks with the people from my training group after work today. Lots of fun. I'm really loving the people I work with. They're fun, have lovely accents and some are very attractive.

    This could get interesting.

    Tomorrow night I go to the Canada vs. New Zealand rugby world cup match. Canada should lose, sadly, but I'll wear my I-Love-Toronto t-shirt and cheer a lot and maybe I'll get on TV. Watch for me!

    Tuesday, October 14, 2003

    I am tired.

    A little bit delirious, actually.

    Last night, after work at GE training, I got my new friend Alojz to guide me to the South Yarra train station (he was going there anyway) and I got to Peter Rowland's head office there, no problem.

    Then Alojz had directed me on how to get to my catering job at the Melbourne Museum. Although it all sounded easy, I still managed to get a little mixed up. But I asked lots of questions and managed to go the right way and get there JUST on time.

    It was a Matrix-themed event put on by Citibank and it was likely the coolest event I've ever been to. We had to wear sunnies (shades) the whole time. Everyone wore black, even the guests. The event coordinators wore the long black leather coats.

    I served drinks, topped up wine and champagne, cleared glasses.

    Then a phone started ringing.
    Trinity and Neo (or their look-alikes, at least) bounded down the escalator, across the foyer and into the telephone booth set up there.

    Soon after, the twins decended the escalator ominously. All four bounded into the dining room, followed by the rest of the guests.

    We served dinner to the Asian Credit Card Sales Team, although my job was just to ensure that everyone's glasses were full.

    There was entertainment... Mr. Smith appeared on stage - all 10 of him. They performed a tap dance. Then there was a choreographed dance/fight scene with Neo, Trinity and the Twins, complete with acrobatics. Very cool.

    Yummy food, lots of drink, good music.
    It was hot hard work. My arms are dead weight at my sides. But it was fun and I met some great people.

    I got home just after midnight and was in bed by 1am.
    Today, I'm making flowcharts on how to verify a credit card application from someone who lives in Canberra. Oh the endless excitement of my life...

    Monday, October 13, 2003

    Had my first day of training for the GE Call Centre.

    I had no idea that GE was involved in so many things. At home, they're just known for appliances and other consumer products like stoves, refrigerators, shavers and telephones.

    But no. That's only a very small component of their business. I'm working in their Consumer Finance section, dealing with credit cards.

    Met some great people today. The trainers seem nice AND the training centre is a 8-minute walk from Scott's place. On Friday, however, I start working in the big GE building that's a 25-minute tram ride from Scott's place.

    Also got a shift tomorrow night from my catering job. After my call centre training, I have to scoot over to the Peter Rowland's office, drop off all my employment paperwork and then rush over to the Melbourne Museum for the event there at 6pm. Apparently, I'll be working there until midnight. Only to wake up nice and early for my call centre training again on Wednesday morning.

    But at least I get to go to yoga tonight. That should calm me down a bit.
    And at least I won't have much time to get nervous about my first catering gig.

    Sunday, October 12, 2003

    Barber and I again ventured to the Queen Victoria Market today to do some real shopping. Right now, the first roast beef I've ever made is in the oven. Smelling a bit odd, I might add...

    Barber says I'm in charge of food. So it's a challenge to actually think of what to make and buy everything that I need to make it. It's different than cooking for myself, since I cook one thing a week and otherwise eat toast or cereal or whatever takes my fancy. Now I have to think about someone else's eating needs too. It's a bit more expensive that way. I haven't eaten so much meat since... well, since I was on tour with Adventure Tours, actually. So not that long, really.

    Yesterday Scott and I spent the day going from gallery to gallery, checking out the various types of art. One of the most interesting exhibits was called "Orifice" at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art which featured a strange blow-up-toilet-seat-with-velcro-straps contraption which drew attention to your navel. Of course, I put it on and Barber took a photo. I am art.

    Then we went for dinner at his co-worker's house. Kelly and Doug are really nice and Doug is an excellent cook. He made us yellow curry with fish and vegetables and then ice cream with cantelope and passionfruit sauce. Outstanding food. Of course, Barber drank too much , we stayed late (3:30am) and we had some fantastic conversation. Fun!

    Friday, October 10, 2003

    I had so much fun at the Queen Victoria Markets!

    I love food. I love looking at it, smelling it, buying it, cooking it, eating it. So, I did all of those things yesterday.

    I bought just enough to make a really nice dinner for Scott and I last night (steak and garlic mushrooms, little potatoes with sour cream, asparagus and cheese sauce) and for a breakfast this weekend (eggs from the farmer and bacon from the butcher). All quite cheaply.

    I can't wait to go back to buy ingredients for my next meal. They have a lovely couple of cheese stands where I'd like to get some nice chevre... and unlike home, they have lots of lamb here at the many butcher kiosks, and it's cheaper than bacon. So I'm going to make my favourite lamb stew next, I think. Or maybe some Indian chicken korma...

    Anyway, the Queen Vic Mkt is huge! Over 7 hectares in size, it's the largest open air Market in the southern hemisphere

    After my nice dinner, we went to see Memorandum, a performance piece that's part of the International Arts Festival going on now. It was interesting - a Japanese piece that involved a bit of dance, some multimedia, performance art... it was kind of like a live music video.

    Then we walked around Federation Square, where there were other events taking place: a free dance hall with band playing Latin music and the Argentina vs. Australia Wallabies on the big screen.

    All in all, a good day, other than the hangover.

    Thursday, October 09, 2003

    Swing class was fun... I suck, but it was fun. I think I'll go again next week.

    After dinner, Scott and I met some people at a pub in Carlton (a nearby suburb by the University of Melbourne). I met all the MBA students that Scott had met through Jill. Lovely people.

    After that, we went to Little Collins St. (downtown and near Scott's place) and met up with some other MBA's. Drank and danced and chatted.

    I got hit on, but I think it was mostly because I was the only new face. That, and I'm clearly irresistable. Got told I have a lovely smile though. I think my face hurts from smiling so much. I guess the price I paid for my teeth is worth it.

    Now I'm hung over but am trying to get my act together to brave the high winds outside and go to the Queen Victoria Markets to shop for some food. Unfortunately, the blistering winds and nausea are getting the better of me so far...

    Wednesday, October 08, 2003

    Today I have an interview at GE. Scott works there and got me the interview. It's for a call centre customer service rep, although they don't call it that.

    I realize I'm overqualified for the job, but I'm a traveller and that's what this trip is all about: doing different things. I've done all sorts of jobs that I wouldn't otherwise do. I really wanted to see what I like and don't like about various positions, industries and companies.

    I've never worked for such a big company before. But I'm getting ahead of myself; I don't have the job yet.

    Yesterday I did yoga. It was a new style, so I did the beginner class. I'm glad I did, as I feel that I've gone back to the beginning in terms of flexibility. I need to do yoga more often. I think I'll go back today.

    Tonight I'm going to swing class with Scott. Should be interesting, considering how uncoordinated I am...

    I'm also looking into the cost of a flight to New Zealand. The biggest decision is whether I go before or after Christmas/New Years. On the one hand, it would be nice to be with people that I know for Christmas and be earning money so I can travel in style.

    On the other hand, staying that long makes me a bit of an annoyance AND gives me less time to travel to New Zealand and Western Australia.

    Tuesday, October 07, 2003

    My induction went well!

    Actually, we had a test and I think I did rather poorly for my standards, but I did pass. Then they taught things like how to hold 3 plates and I already know that from my waitressing in Sydney, so I felt rather cool.

    I hope to be working next week!
    I don't actually know when or how much I'll work. I send in my availability each week and they give me whatever assignments they want to give me. We'll see how much work that is.

    They say that I will absolutely be working on Melbourne Cup weekend (which is like the biggest day in Australia, or at least Victoria).

    And, if I weren't going to be at the Canada vs. New Zealand world cup rugby match on the 17th, I could be working at the Motorcycle Grand Prix on Phillip Island, where they would get me accommodation and everything. Sigh.

    The people seem really nice, although most of the other inductees were really quite young. I think I was the oldest person there. The Yacht Club and Port Melbourne were really beautiful places to see, though.

    Now it's time to figure out yoga classes, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and see some of the sites while I can.

    Who's kidding who? I'm going to stay inside and watch and play on the internet. I can't believe I've been deprived for so long...

    Monday, October 06, 2003

    Site Traffic Report

    As you may or may not know, I'm using re_invigorate to track my site hits.

    I just checked it today for the first time in months. And there are a few things to note:

    * Sarah and Sharon are my number 1 referrers (that means that people come to my site via a link from their sites), although I did get referred by someone looking for Kakadu travel horror stories and by someone looking for "cathy". Let's not kid ourselves, folks: that person was looking for porn.

    * September was a low traffic month. Only about 80 hits a week. That's due to the fact that GoDaddy software was screwing me with my domain name and my site was down for a while. Then I sent them hate mail and they called my mom to sort it out... AFTER asking me to send my credit card information via email.

    * Aside from aberrations, the site has upwards of 100 unique hits per week. Today I've already had 13 unique hits. Thanks for visiting!

    * In general, site traffic peaked in May. Either people were REALLY missing me in May, or I was just updating more then

    * Not surprisingly, most of my visitors are using IE 5 and 6 to access my site. But Netscape 5 made a showing at 5%. I've also had 19 hits from people using Safari.
    Day 2: Melbourne
    Weather: 20 degrees and fine

    Today is my "induction" into Peter Rowland catering down at the Melbourne Yacht Club.

    I found out yesterday that I had to pick up an "induction package" at their South Yarra offices, so after an unsuccessful attempt to figure out how to get there on the internet, I ventured outside to ask a large number of stupid questions of a large number of innocent bystanders.

    I did get a lot of help. The Melbourne Visitor's Centre is not far from Scott's place and they were so good. Too bad I'm an idiot and had to actually ask someone how one catches the tram.

    At least there was a girl on the tram who knew my stop and could instruct me when to get off. Too bad I'm an idiot and started walking the wrong way... 4 times.

    Yes, 4 times I walked the wrong way before I figured out why I wasn't getting where I wanted to go. A maximum 30-min trip took me well over 2 hours. Sigh.

    Oh, the wonders of a new city!

    However, South Yarra is a beautiful suburb, full of lovely clothing shops, boutiques and heaps of cafes. So it wasn't a total waste.

    Then Scott and Jill and I went out for Italian on Lygon Street, which kind of reminded me of College St/Little Italy in Toronto. Then Scott and I drank a bottle of wine and talked until 2am.

    Today, I have to get more accomplished. Seriously.

    Sunday, October 05, 2003

    I'm typing on Scott's computer in his lovely penthouse apartment in downtown Melbourne.

    It's pretty cloudy today, but they say tomorrow the sun's supposed to come out. It's colder here than Adelaide (15 degrees), which is a little sad.

    The bus ride was OK. Slept most of the time. And watched "The Banger Sisters" which was not a good film. Although I hope I look as good as Goldie when I'm that age. Without all the enhancements, of course.

    Have an interview tomorrow. Still looking for other work, though, so that I can earn as much as possible while I'm here. I want to be able to spend as much time as possible in New Zealand and Western Australia, so I'd better hurry up and earn enough to move on!

    It figures that the Flight Centre is having a sale on NZ flights NOW instead of in a month from now. Sigh. That's how it goes, I guess.

    Time to sleep.

    Thursday, October 02, 2003

    Went to the JAM Factory yesterday, a gallery and studio for contemporary Australian craft art and design.

    Watched a glass-blowing demonstration, which was very cool (actually, hot).

    Went for a walk to North Adelaide after dark when I thought I'd go to the Aquatic Centre for a BackFit class. It was MUCH further away than it looked on the map. However, it was a lovely walk.

    What a beautiful city!
    Happy Birthday Mom!