valda may rowntree. or grandma whitehair if you're max or tom.
isn't she just the cutest? and just quietly, i don't think the middle name is the only thing we have in common. we talked about it today. we decided we're the clumsiest people we know. and we can both cry at the drop of a hat. and we love cooking shows.
she is everything grandmas are supposed to be.
she's kind and sweet and she knits and she always has bandaids and hankies and nail files in her bag when you need them. she feeds the dozens of birds that call out to her from her back steps every morning. and she makes the best mashed potato. and she sings and whistles as she meanders around the house. and she has the best collection of audrey hepburn movies you've ever seen. and she always has the freshest magazines and papers at her house. her house that hasn't changed a single bit since i've been alive. and i'm totally ok with that.
i still remember the days i used to be shorter than her.
and the days and days i used to spend at her house in the school holidays when she would take me to museums and galleries and exhibits and zoos and aquariums. and spoil me rotten with mcdonalds and ice cream for lunch.
visiting her house is still just as excellent as it was when i was younger. except now, instead of loving her foxtel for the endless cartoons, i love poring over her photos she's collected over her 85 years.
today, i learnt that her mum used to think she was the height of fashion, looking at pictures of her cutting around in furs every chance she got. i also learnt that my grandma used to be quite a star performer as she showed us photos of her in costume, ready to go on stage for the grand opening celebrations at luna park.
we looked at photos from her wedding and laughed about the "olden day" fashions, like long gloves and bonnets. she told us about how she used to call grandpop "a skinny pom, and he used to call me a fat aussie!".
we talked about her dad and her brother, looking at photos and comparing their features to members in our own rowntree clan.
we found some war bonds filed away with her photos. yeah. war bonds. i don't know what you did today, but i touched some paper from 1947. i felt like i should have had white gloves on.
we giggled a lot about grandpop. the phrases "let's just tell grandpop we had sandwiches for lunch", "what do you want for breakfast?" asked whilst eating dinner, "god, strike me" and "can you pass the salt?" had us laughing until our eyes watered, imagining him looking down and rolling his eyes at how ridiculous we were all being.
so this is my grandma. and i love her to smithereens. if i turn out half as lovely as her, i'll be doing great.
we hung out with our brilliant friends kat, ben and aaron to squeeze the very last drops out of my birthday. we went out for mexican and stuffed ourselves silly. kat made me an incredible cake and everyone spoilt me with the best gifts. (maybe i ate some of said cake for dinner tonight).
it was a pretty fun night, despite what the photo of aaron may lead you to believe. the boys ate this ridiculously hot chilli sauce, so hot that they had to ask the waiter for a glass of milk and benny even cried a little bit.
tee hee hee, little girls. says this little girl who was too scared to even try it.
we also slothed about on the couch, visited my grandmama and blu-tacked some family photos onto our wall of beauties. and right now we're topping it off with some midsomer murders and listening to the rain.
a morning alarm in the form of some very sleepy happy birthday singing from bond at 6am.
some amazing gifts from my lovely boyfy, even a couple of surprise gifts i didn't know about. and if you know me, you know that's no mean feat since i ruin pretty much every surprise i'm involved in, as surprise giver or surprise receiver. one of my gifts came from here. let me know if you guess what one it is.
delicious breakfast in bed
a gorgeous sunny day
a free ride to work on the bus
a couple of surprise packages at work from my gorgeous family and a super friend.
a delicious homemade cake from my work friends complete with candles.
a special delivery of beautiful flowers to my desk.
a supreme dinner date with bond to porteno, where i ate so much incredible food i felt a bit sick - including the world's best dessert. it was like a cross between pavlova and peanut brittle and trifle.
if you have never seen the hives live before than i urge you, for the love of your unborn children... make sure you see them at least once before you die.
they never disappoint me. i've seen them the last two times they've been to australia - the last time being 3 freaken years ago - and each time i walk away just as in love with them as ever. i haven't been able to stop listening to them since thursday. i even stayed up super late after the gig to watch them on youtube.
a band that comes out on stage in top hats and tails, tell the crowd to "shut the fuck up and let me speak!" and prance around hands-on-hips are always going to get my vote. and the fact that i could look at pelle almqvist all day always adds to the whole experience.
there was only one person in the whole crowd who had a better night that me and that's this guy:
how ridiculous is that?! getting pulled up on stage by the worlds greatest band to play bass guitar in their closing song. i don't know how to play bass at all but i was still very very jealous of him.
til next time hives, you sexy swedish rock lords. it better not be three years til you're back.
a couple of weekends ago, i went to see mary poppins at the capitol theatre here in sydney will some of my loveliest friends - kat, benny and suzie q.
the theatre is always such a fun and exciting place to go. you buy your tickets months in advance thinking "man, that is forever away!!" and then all of a sudden... it's tomorrow.
and there's something to be said about a matinee. nothing like sitting in a dark theatre for hours, only to come out when the sun is still shining.
matinee also means an excuse to go out for a special lunch, and this saturday afternoon, we hedged our bet on the little queue - well, the littlest i've ever seen anway - at mamak for some malaysian delights. man that food was excellent. milky sweet teas, chewy roti and spicy curry sauce. and i don't think any of us could resist ordering the maggi goreng. like mee goreng except with good ol' aussie maggi noodles. i also ate a whole prawn. head and all. and afterward decided it was probably not meant to be in the chip i ate. oh dear. despite the randome baby prawn it was still well worth the 20 minute wait out the front for a table.
1. i dont know that other girl. 2. food 3. suzie q and her noodle.
now, mary poppins wasn't a huge part of my childhood personally (i was more of a wizard of oz kinda gal), so i was a little bit scared that some of it would go over my head.
all i can say is mary must have been able to read my mind and pick up on my nervousness.
she had me at blue lemonade.
it was incredible, incredible show. the performers were brilliant (even that little short guy from sytycd who i think is a little bit annoying normally), the music was beautiful and i even knew most of the words. and anyone who says things like "just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" is ok in my book.
actually on that point - rule number one in the going to a musical handbook:
i dont care how much you love the movie / know every single line of every single song - do. not. sing. out. loud.
if i didn't love my blue lemonade so much it could have ended up down someone's back.
my little brothers max and tom sent boyfy and i a gorgeous card this week in the mail, inside, their newest portraits from school.
i love those two to pieces. and then some.
i love that i remember the days they were both born and now they're writing me cards ( !!! what happened to those little teeny, tiny babies?! ) and i love thinking about all the times people used to think they were my own little offspring. god bless those strong rowntree genes.
i love that they call boyfy "Bondi". with an i. like bondi beach. too cute.
i love that when i look at photos of the two of them, i see dad and em. and even though i'm a grown up now, i still wish i had my parents close, and i miss them a lot.
needless to say, this little baby is now taking pride of place on our fridge. and i'm beginning to think a weekend to adelaide might be in order.
thanks max and tom, for being the cutest little spunks i know.
sunday - i finished an entire book in one sitting by this little lady. it made me bawl my eyes out and every self respecting human should read it. delightful writing by an incredible young aussie author.
monday - i had a bit of a yucky day at work and had to resort to the ol' faithful tea and bikkie to put the smile back on my dial.
tuesday - i spent the day in brisbane for work, which isn't a bad place to be in the dead of winter.
wednesday - we went to buy groceries and ended up having pizza for dinner. that's just how things work in our house. and i wouldn't change that for the entire universe.
thursday - i baked for JDs birthday. i like being the dedicated baker in our team at work. takes the edge of work. and there's nothin' like a bit of sugar to bring people together in my opinion.
friday - it's raining and i'm getting dinner made for me as i type. i am lucky to have a boyfy who thinks he is jamie oliver. i like him. ( x x )
... and tomorrow! i'm off to see mary poppins with some super lovely pals! not before a spot of china town lunch though. dumpling-time!!
so this weekend was a bit quiet. maybe really, really quiet.
maybe so quiet that in fact, boyfy and i went a bit stir crazy, got a bit cranky and got a bit fighty.
but that happens to everyone right? you kinda get on each other's nerves a bit and it gets a bit grumpy? then you talk it out and everyone apologises and you promise that tomorrow will be a bright, brand new shiny day to enjoy and to leave the moodiness and unnecessary grumpiness in yesterday? that's our remedy anyway.
and this bright brand new shiny day for us happened to be a pearler for just hanging out and appreciating each other. a sunday perfect for going out for eggs and coffee, macaroons and strolls through the city, pink lemonade in the park and one of our most favourite (nerdy) pastimes - new book buying.
this last week at work has been cray-zee. lots of heads down, lots of spirits down, lots of not-a-lot-of-fun-goin' down.
so in between eating cheeseburgers in the sunshine on friday afternoon, one of my dear work colleagues (and occasional real-life friend) began thinking about the little things. the little things that rock. the little, sometimes unexpected things that make you think - "hell yes. life is awesome"
and you know what? this actually proved to be a lovely distraction for some other weary colleagues nearby in the office.
and yes, yes, i know, some people on other blogs call these "happy lists" or "awesome lists" or whatever. but this is better than that. this list kicks all other happy lists' asses.
so here it is. the list of little things that kick-ass: (wearing odd socks and no-one knowing about it is my ultimate fave because i do it all the time)
1. Writing emails to Matt about non-work related thingsin work-speak e.g.
Thanks so much for the call, I really appreciate you getting back to me.
If you’d like to discussanythingI mentioned in my voicemail, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
2. People with amazingly loud sneezes
3. Getting 7 nuggets instead of 6 in a 6 pack from McDonalds
4. Thetoastie machine being pre-warmed by someone before you in the kitchen at work
5. iPod shuffle being a legend
6. ice cream on freezing cold nights
7. having a highlighter in every single colour– actually stationery in general
8. gum boots
9. seeingadorable kids with wicked dress sense
10. eating chips and chocolate at the same time
11. the smell of rain on hot concrete
12. red wine and cheese after a b*tch of a day
13. the smell of petrol
14. having a good typing day with minimal typos
15. finally untying a massive knot
16. fresh sheets off the line
17. wearing odd socks and no one knowing about it
18. having breakfast for dinner
19. still knowing the words to east 17 songs
20. only eating pink marshmallows
21. handwritten notes
22. laughing at birthday cards in the store
23. gift wrap
24. Christmas carols not atChristmas time
25. Shower sting when you’re sunburnt
26. Tracksuit pants
27. free golf tees in a golf buggy when you play at a fancy golf course
28. Free bread at a restaurant
29. An elevator that goes express rather than stopping all stations
30. ditto for a train
31. or tram
32. A big one for me is looking at something when someone goes "how many marbles do you think are in that jar" and I guess the right number
like most regular sunday's we did some paper reading in the sunshine - i swear HJ foley park was made for sunday papers, we did some giggling, we did some lazing. i think boyfy may have even done some washing. bless him.
there were a couple of things that weren't so regular about our Sunday though:
1. we had a blind tasting at our house. and not just any blind tasting. it was a mono-e-mono event between two feverish competitors. in the red corner, we had dr. pepper! and in the blue, cherry coke!
(in case you're wondering - our local IGA sells pretty much every single softie flavour ever invented. yes kim and ali, if you're reading this, even that increds strawberry fanta we had in greece. we love it.)
in essence, the challenge involved me assisting the boyf in tasting each can whilst he had his eyes closed. and, being the self-appointed dr. pepper connoisseur that he is, had to tell me which was the real dr. pepper and which was the cherry coke.
In summary, he thought cherry coke was dr. pepper!!! i don't know what that now means for humanity, but someone needs to practice drinking dr pepper. (i'm looking at you, bond). i personally liked the cherry coke better anyway, heaps sweeter and tangy-er.
2. sometimes we like to do really silly things and buy $10 creme fraiche. it came all the way from france. i love love love france but even i found it hard to justify spending $10 on french sour cream. oh well, best i take a photo of it.
last saturday night was the saturday night i look forward to all year. we get the gang together, we wear as much black and white as we can, and we yell and cheer and boo and swear as our beloved collingwood magpies play the swans here in Sydney. it only happens once a year. (let us have our moment.)
there were a couple of things different about this year though. my partner in crime, katrina, is expecting a little bundle of love, so she was off the goon. we brought some new friends into the gang who were "behind enemy lines" (their words, not mine) as they were of the carlton (YUCK) and adelaide persuasions. lucky they're lovely or i'd really, really be re-thinking our friendship. another new addition into the fold was aaron's new blazer. handmade in vietnam, 100% awesome.
the night began with pizza and beer, the middle was made up of more beer and lots of laughing and the night was rounded out with mcdonalds sundaes and chicken mcnuggets.