Hello from Brooklyn! The land of rescue dogs, coffee, donuts, snow (!) and a little jet lag.
Bow sandals If you looked at my internet search history you would find “sandals with bows” “bow sandals” and “bows with sandals attached” among my most searched terms. I just really love bows. And sandals. I bought these from a shop called Dalaga. Tangent: See how my right foot is bruised? That’s cos an amp (an amp!) fell on my foot two days before we flew to New York.
Cat eye sunglasses The last pair of black cat eyes I bought from a newsagent in Erina Fair broke after I put them in a bag and then threw said bag in a car boot. Also bought from Dalaga. I would have modelled these, but I look like I’ve just walked in from a blizzard filled with garbage after a 48 hour catfishing trip.
T(om)hanks You know how you always hear old people saying ‘no one ever writes letters anymore’? Well I always write letters, so shut your mouth Mavis. I think funny or classy cards are the best little gift you can give. And who didn’t love Tom Hanks in Turner and Hooch? I bought these from a bookstore in Greenpoint called ‘Word’. Word!
J-man in heaven I think the only reason J-man was so enthusiastic about NYC was its people to craft beer bar ratio. This is him carefully choosing beers at a place called Brouwerji Lane. It was like watching a kid in a beer flavoured candy store.
The greatest hits of 2011, as recorded in my red Moleskine.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since we stood at the peak of Bernal Heights Park and watched 2011 roll in. We were in San Francisco. Over the oceans and far away. Isn’t that weird?
We waited and waited for our little cream flat to be open for inspection. And when it was, only we could get past the (then) fluro green walls and cupboard-sized bathroom to see the potential. With an eccentric but lovable landlord, friendly neighbours, a leafy courtyard and an excellent cafe downstairs, it is the best place in the world.
This was the last time I saw my grandmother. It might seem strange to include this on my “greatest hits” list, but it was one of the most perfect days – she was happy and in good spirits. When I went home a couple of weeks after her death, I found a plain gold ring that had fallen from one of her coat pockets. So now it’s on my wedding ring finger behind my love heart engagement ring, as a constant reminder of wonderful Maime (mostly spelt ‘Mamie’. I went wrong somewhere). It makes it a little bit easier when I realise I can’t write her a letter or call her anymore.
Bat For Lashes at the Opera House was one of my favourite shows of all time. I’ve been searching for the perfect red, full skirt ever since.
Our (squishy) trip to Splendour, via J-man’s best friend’s house. We slept in a cute caravan on his parents’ property and woke up to a foggy green Queensland valley.
Seeing Jon Ronson talk about psychopaths at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Then had my own dangerous idea to hang out on the couch, eat pizza and watch Ryan Gosling become my number one hot-intense-hot dude of the year.
The first swim of the season at Copacabana is always amazing. This time Adam Spencer popped up from underneath the water. Weird.
The more banal and/or amusing moments of 2011, as captured in my red Moleskine diary
“Came home. J-man had done the housework!” – April 7
“Read the papers. Had first dinner at new dining table.” – April 9
“J-man made vindaloo. I got a little sick.” – May 1
“Little sleep in.” – May 7
“Big sleep in!” – May 8
“Bought amazing new bedspread.” – June 6
“Watched Hot Tub Time Machine.” – July 2
“Spider in the shower! Made steak wraps.” – September 2
“Massive rash on my face!” – October 11
“Feeling really frickin’ nervous.” – October 23
“Saw Contagion. Dude behind me had a cough” – November 6
“Alicia’s party. Salt n Pepa dance off in the laundry. Massive fall” [on the road in Redfern, which led to a staph infection and a lot of complaining] – November 26
“Slept at Cessnock Hotel. Massive bogan punch up” – December 10
The cutest thing that happened this year, as recorded on my iPhone
My nephew, little V, trying to say my name. At least he didn’t say “Steve”.
The most mysterious day of 2011, as not recorded in my red Moleskine diary
How am I ever to know what happened on Thursday August 18, 2011. I have no alibi.
I dread the day when I have to tell my own children I don’t love them as much as I love my nephew, V-man. I guess I’ll have to find the appropriate moment – like when I leave them in a basket amongst the reeds. I’m sure community services will understand when I use this video as a defence.
I spent Saturday looking after the little man and we had a blast. There was a beach trip, naps, story time and a little bit of crying for his mummy and daddy. So a lot like my honeymoon, really.
This was our Saturday schedule:
0930 – Vincent turns up clinging to the necks of Mary and Andrew and eyeing me suspiciously. They leave and he cries and cries. Our fridge is covered in hilarious things that he loves like dog magnets, photos from Taronga Zoo and polaroids of J-man and I when we were young and in love. When he sees a photo of a mountain goat he calms down and, in between sobs, points to it and says “dog”. I tell him that’s no way to speak about his Aunty Julia.
1015 – We turn on Rage to distract V-man from the heartbreak of being an orphan for a day. Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation comes on and the baby starts dancing. Cute!
1115 – We all get ready to go to Balmoral Beach. On the bus ride I start singing: “We’re going to the beach! We’re going to the beach!” Then, just like Biggie and 2Pac, we get a little call and response going. Aunty Steve: “We’re going to the beach! We’re going to the beach! Where are we going?” V-man (with arms raised): “The beeesch”.
1130 – Turns out the baby hates the beach. He likes being dunked in the water OK, but he hates the sand and starts grizzling and pointing to the bus stop about 30 seconds after we arrive. Man, kids do not know how to party. Soon he gets so sad I decide to take him to the grass area, where he starts to howl and howl. It’s really quite heartbreaking until two little kids with bags of popcorn come up and say: “Why is he sad? Does he want some popcorn?”. V-man takes the popcorn and stops crying. AND MY COLD, DEAD HEART COMES OUT OF MY EYES IN THE FORM OF FAIRY TEARS.
1145 – J-man buys us colas and V-man a fruit juice. V starts crying again and becomes very clingy to just me. I ask J-man whether he thinks he should put his shirt on to stop scaring the baby. J-man says I am crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s a legitimate concern.
1215 – We realise that V-man wants nothing more than to leave. So rather than take him back to the sand to collect our stuff, V and I sit on a bench while J-man packs us up. I hold him and point out a little kayak to him. I tell him it’s like a row boat and start singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and he grins from ear to ear. Every time I stop singing he says: “ro-ro?” to prompt me to start again. My hipster reputation lies in tatters.
1230 – We get on the bus and almost immediately V-man starts to snore in my arms. I have some trouble finding a button to push to signal our stop. This is when I realise that all those mothers who go on and on and on about people being jerks are right. All these people just stare at me while I struggle with a beach bag, a sleeping kid and a video game-playing husband. We miss our stop and I blame humanity. Humanity and those damn selfish childless women.
1315 – I hope V-man will keep sleeping for a while, so Aunty Steve can catch up on the important business of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But he wakes up with a snap as soon as we get home and says “ro-ro?”
1400 – We play with the phone, the remote control, the PlayStation control, the fridge magnets, the button on the TV, the handle on the suitcase table and carefully examine the knob on the drawer of our phone table. It’s exhilarating. We play a really great (read: predictable) game of chasies. J-man has a couple of friends come over and V-man hides behind my legs. I put on my playsuit especially to go to the playground and I show V-man how slippery dips are done.
1500 – I carry V-man a couple of blocks to get a lemonade icy pole and we share it in our courtyard. I don’t know if he’s had an ice block before, but it seems like a huge novelty. His eyes get all wide, he goes “ooooh” when I unwrap it and it’s obvious the cold sensation is new and weird to him. My land lady is in the courtyard doing some washing and hangs a little stuffed dog up on the line by its ears. I get a bit worried V-man will be upset, but he says “dog” and my land lady falls for his charm and gives it to him to keep. Inside, he throws it on the ground over and over again. Baby hates fake dogs. I say that is no way to treat his Aunty Julia.
1545 – I have the ingenious idea to share a mint slice biscuit with him on the couch. Yeah, great idea idiot. Babies get stuff everywhere. Within five minutes there is chocolate on the couch, on his clothes, through his hair, on his hat and all over my soul. I clean him up and take him downstairs to put his hat in the washing machine. And I scar the kid for life. It turns out his hat is kind of his security blanket, so seeing it locked into a big noisy watery box is the end of the world. We go back inside and he throws himself on the floor in sadness. Just like I did when J-man washed a blue sock with my new white singlet top in Holland. No, really – there may have been public yelling and throwing of things. Aw, the little man takes after me.
1600 – Everything is OK once we read Where The Wild Things Are and he roars his terrible roar.
1601 – The exact moment when my lady mechanics ache for a baby. Get it together J-man! Just keep your damn shirt on.
Every year or so, J-man gets a new obsession. One year it was Chris Bath the newsreader, another time it was the White Stripes, then it was cooking pizza from scratch and at the moment it is brewing beer. J-man’s interest in beer has also extended to cooking and spices and flavours and experimenting in the kitchen. Let’s just say I now know so much about yeast, I could turn one bread roll into a thousand loaves and name thineself the messiah.
This whole thing has caused the biggest relationship rift since Kris Humphries pushed Kim Kardashian into the ocean while they holidayed in Bora Bora and she lost one of her $75,000 diamond earrings on the bottom of the ocean and then cried and we all thought it was the end and all the kittens in the world died.
Just two nights ago a discussion about cooking ended with J-man calling my salads “just a bunch of stuff cubed in a bowl” and my vegetarian cooking “boring”. I’m pretty sure he called my face “dead ugly” and then kicked a puppy too. Then all the kittens in the world died. Needless to say, I stormed off to the bedroom and sulked like any 25-year-old woman would do. I mean, c’mon cooking is my thing.
I had a great idea this morning while reading about mass chicken farming in Australia. As I read about the 75,000 chickens slaughtered in a processing plant in one day, I thought: What is something meaningful I could do? Of course, as a Generation Y middle-class white girl, I forgot entirely about those tasty, decadent, delicious chickens and started pondering something totally unrelated and self-involved. Myself! My interesting, clever and wonderful self.
For 30 days (maybe) I’m going to shoot very short videos of what my days are like. I know, right? WORLD CHANGING SHIT IS GOING DOWN RIGHT HERE.
First up. This is me dancing to rap in our kitchen on a Sunday morning. J-man tells me if I really listened to the women-hating lyrics of this song, I’d be upset. But hey, girls just wanna have fun!