Category Archives: Australia
I say this knowing that millions disagree. All around the world, cricket-playing nations abound. People pay money to go to matches, sit in the hot sun for eight or more hours and watch men dressed from head to toe in white smack a ball with a bat. On the other side of the globe, people who are interested in the outcome get up at four in the morning so they can watch on TV. For myself, I don’t get it. Cricket is the kind of thing I turn the TV to when I can’t get to sleep.
Case in point: right now, Australia and England are locked in battle for the Ashes, series of matches that we apparently fight over every year or couple of years – I’m not 100% clear on the details, as my care factor is pretty low. I do know that it’s Test cricket, as opposed to One-Day cricket, and what that means is that a match lasts multiple days. Five Tests are played over six or so months, I think, in both England and Australia, and even if one side wins the first three Tests, they still play all five, which to me is just plain mean.
Anyway, I actually have a point to make here. I was hanging out with my brother and his wife at their place, and my sister-in-law and I were working on a jigsaw puzzle while my brother watched the cricket. They’ve been married for nearly two years now, but they’re often still like newlyweds so my SIL kept coaxing my brother to join us. He was adamant that he had to watch the cricket. I waded in, mostly just to annoy him, and pointed out that a colleague had told me that cricket wasn’t even a real sport. That got him all fired up, and he spent a few minutes telling us how important cricket is to many nations that would otherwise be at daggers drawn (my words, not his) and that the game had many nuances which were not at first obvious (his words, not mine). I’ll take a moment to point out that the match was in play the whole time we were talking, and it didn’t seem like he was missing much. My SIL and I were not impressed. “What kind of nuances?” we demanded.
It was unfortunate for my brother that at that precise moment one of the British commentators said to another, “What was your breakfast like this morning?”
My SIL and I started laughing and couldn’t stop. It seems to me that a sport should be fast-paced enough that commentators don’t have time during play to talk about anything except what’s happening on the field. My poor brother shut up after that. There wasn’t really anything that could be said about those nuances that would balance out the breakfast discussion.
What do you think? Are there sports out there that don’t deserve to be so named?
When I was thirteen, and then again when I was fifteen, my parents took my brother and me to the Gold Coast for a holiday. For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, that’s approximately two days drive from where I live in Melbourne. Mum and Dad, wisely, planned the trip with lots of bathroom and leg-stretching breaks, but there were still some loooooong periods in that car, all four of us together. The only thing that prevented arguments? Music.
I was born in the ‘eighties, so Elvis Presley and the girl groups of the sixties were not my normal listening fare. Until those trips. Mum bought a double CD of Elvis’s Greatest Hits, and during those drives, my brother and I became extremely intimate with over forty of the King’s songs. I can now sing many of those, and more, word perfect, and I can honestly say that I’m an Elvis fan. To the point that I visited Graceland while I was in the States. Anyone who has ever heard an Elvis song should make the trip. The man was so much more than just a singer, and his home and the museums were a revelation to me.
But between the wonderful Rock’n’Roll hits that I so love to belt out, there are some truly beautiful ballads. One of my favorite songs, full stop, no questions, is If I can Dream. Look it up on YouTube – the lyrics are wonderful, and the music so powerful. Sad songs, the ones that make me tear up? In the Ghetto, Don’t Cry Daddy, and An American Trilogy. Songs that made me laugh? Anything with a high note that my brother tried and failed to hit 🙂
Anyone else out there an Elvis fan? Or, who was the unexpected musical influence in your life?
Last night I got home from four glorious days in tropical North Queensland. The only downside is the sunburn…you’d think I’d know better than to not use sunscreen. After all, I’ve only been living under a hole in the ozone layer for the past twenty-eight years.
But back to the point. My future sister-in-law. I knew I liked her, but I’ve found that a holiday with someone establishes whether you’ll be friends for ever or hate each other in a few months.
Thankfully, she falls into the first category. Here’s why:
1. We went to the supermarket to get supplies, and she got the chocolate without us even needing to discuss it.
2. While hiking in Mossman Gorge, she kept stopping to touch everything…moss, tree trunks, leaves, rocks. She’s an art teacher and texture fascinates her. She gets so excited, it’s contagious.
3. Riding the SkyRail from Kuranda back to Cairns, she observed that the rainforest looked like mountains of broccoli. She’s right, but I never saw it before.
4. She’s in love with Wally. We met Wally while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Go to http://www.reefmagiccruises.com/gallery to see his picture. In her words, he feels “squidgy.”
5. We rode on ATVs, a guided beginner’s session on a relatively tame track. We were barely two minutes in before one of the instructors pulled her over because she was going so slow she was holding everyone up. The instructor rode double with her for most of the session because she had trouble with the accelerator, i.e. pushing it.
She made up for it at the end, though!
And those are only five reasons I’m glad my brother is marrying her!
My brother’s engagement party was on Saturday night. I still have trouble believing that my baby brother (all six-foot three inches of him) is getting married. And there I was at the party, listening to him give a speech, thanking his fiancée for agreeing to marry him.
Anyway, it was a great party. I was the head of the decorating committee, and I did a fabulous job, if I say so myself. We had helium balloons (400 of them–inflating them all was a fun experience!) in three different shades and textures of purple. Did you know that balloons come in your standard matt, metallic and what they call crystal, which is like a coloured see-through bubble. We also had red heart-shaped ones.
It was a cocktail party, but there were some tables for the elderly relatives to sit at. Each one had a crisp white tablecloth, a small vase with a red gerbera and a stem of purple Singapore orchids, three tea-light candles in glass holders, and a generous scatter of tiny coloured metallic stars.
The only problem with a party like that, where we all look divine in our gorgeous dresses and stunning shoes, is that dancing is disastrous. I felt no pain on Saturday night. It was way too much fun. Sunday morning, on the other hand…
I have four blisters on each of my pinky toes. Okay, I have big feet, but not that big! I did the whole disinfect and deflate thing, but they’re proving to be stubborn. Currently the only shoes I can wear are thongs (that’s flip-flops to you Americans) and it’s cold here right now!
Anyway, the wedding is booked for next February, and after that my annoying yet beloved baby brother will be a husband!
For those of you who live here in Aus, you’ve probably heard about the lovely rain we’ve been getting in Melbourne. For everyone else, after more than ten years of drought, Melbourne is now experiencing a LOT of rain. Hello, flash flooding. The basement carpark of my building flooded yesterday, with all the cars and storage rooms on the lower level (not mine, thankfully) flooded waist deep in water. Cars written off, and years of personal belongings destroyed. I spent hours with one woman, helping her try to save her dead mother’s photo albums.
Naturally, with more rain forecast, I began to worry about my own storage room. The car is insured, but no amount of money will ever replace the hundreds of out-of-print books I’ve managed to collect over the years. I was determined to get all eight large and extremely heavy plastic crates upstairs to my apartment.
So I called my darling brother and begged for help.
He arrived, took one look at the non-functioning lift, and demanded to know if I’d lost my mind. As he pointed out, my storage room was on the upper level, and extremely unlikely to flood, as the water would flow out onto the street. At worst, I’d get maybe an inch of water before it started draining into the stormwater system. My building is at the top of a hill, as he reminded me, so whole houses would need to be under water before my storage room was.
But, to ease my mind, he then proceeded to (somehow) track down two biiiiig and six-inch thick sheets of foam and use them to elevate my crates about a foot off the ground. So if whole houses did end up under water, at least I’d have time to get my books out.
Let’s just say I felt a combination of selfish and sheepish when he left.
But he’s still the best brother ever.
Aussies, you can find it at the following bookstores:
Rosemary’s Romance Books
Shop 6, Level 1, 144 Adelaide St
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
07 3229 0088
Rendezvous the Romance Bookstore
359A Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC Australia 3000
T: 03 9600 3466
Ever After – The Romance Book Specialists
Shop 2, 8 Kenny St
Wollongong NSW 2500
Phone: 02 4225 7704
Look forward to hearing what everyone thinks!
Last night, I was VERY naughty, and instead of writing, I read Linda Howard’s Heart of Fire for the kazillionth time. I love that book. It had everything. Danger, intrigue, romance (of course) and adventure–in the Amazon, no less, one of the most adventurous places on the planet. On a side note, R. Ann Siracusa, author of the fabulous Tour Director Extraordinaire series, is currently in the Amazon…hope you’re having fun! Anyway, re-reading about the dangers of the Amazon, caimans, jaguars, leeches, reminded me of my own encounter with a tropical ick.
Just last November, I was up in Cairns (Australia–tropical North Queensland). My dad had some work up there for a couple of days, and he was taking Mum with him. Since accommodation was paid, when they asked if we (me and my brother) wanted to come along, we leapt at the chance.
While we were there, we went to Mossman Gorge. Absolutely beautiful, if you can stand the humidity it’s well worth the visit. Recommend you DON’T go during the Australian summer, as the humidity is unbearable. Anyway, I (foolishly) had not brought water with me, so by the time we were halfway through the seven kilometer (um, quick conversion, about four and a half miles), I was feeling a bit sick. Not really sick, but a yucky sick. If you know what I mean.
Oh, something you should know about me–I hate bugs. Hate with a passion. Spiders, ants, mosquitoes, anything that has more than two legs and either creeps or flies, ugh. So when I felt something bite me on my calf, I was predisposed to freak out. I had a look–black bug on me. Yuk. Still, I was prepared to be an adult; I’m twenty-seven, not seven. So, I bent over to brush it off.
It wouldn’t come off.
This was when hysteria crept in. Or should I say, leapt in with a freaking marching band. I immediately screeched and began freaking out in the worst possible way. The words, “it won’t come off” and “get it off” were the only ones I could say. Yes, I had been bitten by a leech.
My darling baby brother, after my dad had pulled the disgusting, slimy little thing off my leg, and I was trying (unsuccessfully) to calm down, told me that we should have left it alone. Once it’s full, it just drops off by itself. Thanks, darling, but the only thing I would ever want sucking my blood is a sexy and non-homicidal vampire. This leech was not sexy.
Then, as I held a tissue to my leg to stop the trickle of blood, he told me that the best way to get a leech to let go is to a) sprinkle it with salt or b) hold a lit match to it. Since I hadn’t been organised enough to bring water, I don’t know why he thought I’d have salt and/or a match.
For the rest of the day, Dad and my darling little brother (who, I should mention, is 25 and six-foot-three) kept teasing me about my hysterical fit over a bug that was about the size of my pinky fingernail. My response? “When you’ve been bitten by a leech, then you can comment. Until then…!#$%^&$@.”