Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Great Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

I've been looking for a bone suit for ages. My brother has always wanted one. Which in turn made me want on too! Last week we saw a bone suit in the Target add. Naturally I insisted that we take a drive to target to pick one up! This gem is a union suit. It's even got a butt opening for easy bathroom breaks. Not sure what use that truly has here in Oz. People don't go ice fishing, or snowmobiling. But in any case I love it all the more for the glorious butt opening. The bones also glow in the dark. It's too legit to quit.

Here's our pumpkin pre carving. People don't typically care pumpkins here. Halloween isn't nearly as big as it is in the States. This was Paul's first pumpkin carving, and our first together. We only bought one. Next here I'll make him carve one of his own. We didn't have any appropriate pumpkin carving knives. Luckily, I worked the day we did the carving. So I 'borrowed' some steak knives from work. The were way better than using butcher knives!

He did not like the feeling of the guts on the inside. But he didn't mind the carving so much.

We gave our pumpkin some heart eyes and a heart nose with a cheeky smile. Of course on Halloween last night none of our matches would lite. It's a good thing we lit it the night we carved, and yesterday afternoon. It was insanely windy last night anyway. So if we had it lit outside it would have blown out right away. 

We also cooked some of the seeds. Paul wasn't very impressed with how they tasted. But they reminded me of childhood Halloweens, so I loved them!

Unfortunately, we didn't get any trick or treaters last night. I was hoping to see some cute costumes. But I've been getting a fair fix of cute costumes from facebook. We also tried to buy Hocus Pocus on itunes last night, but it was unavailable. Big bummer....however, we did find it available at a store down the road. So today I'll be begging Mr. Forsyth to take me there. We don't have any plans the rest of the week, and it's a good feeling. Next week we're headed out of town again, and the week after we'll be USA bound!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spring Carnival!

Spring Carnival: Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racing Club

This Saturday was the Cox Plate. It's one of many races during Spring Carnival here in Melbourne. It's all about the fashion at the races. We got all dressed up and went to this race. It's one of the better races to attend, because it's not ridiculously busy. The Course we were at holds about 40,000 people, and the race next weekend holds about 100,000. Despite it being the 'less' busy race, I thought there were plenty of people. It was a bit chilly, which was a little disappointing. But it was better than sweating all day. Paul wore his fancy new suit, and I wore my new dress. We found all my accessories while we were in Perth. My earrings were a gift from Mrs. Forsyth, and they worked perfectly with my dress. They are silver with amethyst stones. My fascinator was actually two separate pieces; big flower, and separate netting with clips. Luckily we brought some flats for me to slip into through out the day. We were on our feet for the entire day, and there's a lot of walking involved so my tootsies took a bit of a beating.

There were eight races and we placed about five bets. We won or placed on nearly all our bets. We bet small, so we won small. But that didn't take any of the excitement out of winning. We didn't bet with any real theory. I picked one jockey, because he was wearing yellow and so was I. We won on that one. We won on another horse we bet on, because Paul liked the name 'Super Cool'. The first race started at 1:00 and the last race was 6:00. Naturally we missed the first race. It turns into a really long day. We made sure to drink a lot of water at home, and had a big breakfast. So luckily the champagne had something to stick to in my stomach. The legal drinking age here is eighteen. So it's a bit entertaining to see the drunk girls with heels, fascinators and braces. We saw one girl in a hot pink dress getting wheeled out in a wheel chair by police. Another guy got escorted out by police a couple hours later. Paul gave me ample warning that there would be plenty of drunk people, so I was ready for it.

The bets are placed with independent bookies. You just give them your money, they give you a receipt and you return to the same bookie to collect your winnings.... if you're lucky enough to win. They all had those bags over their shoulder. But I'm pretty sure it was just for looks/to display their name. 
I didn't see anything in the bags.

Here's a view of some of the crowd and the betting area behind them. They are all facing a giant TV that's playing the race we're at, and other races around the country. 

They walk the horses around a small oval, so you can take a look at their behavior before placing a bet. They also interview the trainers, farm owners, jockeys, etc before the race. This was before the final race, so there were quite a few people in the stands watching.

Naturally I found pretty flowers to take a picture of.

The final race we were able to get close enough to see the track. 
There were so many people earlier in the day that I couldn't see the track at all. 

Our final bet was on the jockey wearing pink and white. He was doing awesome at the beginning of the race. But by the finish he was in the back. They go by in what feels like a second. But it's pretty amazing to be that close and see them cruise by.

We had a great time. Pauls friend, Leon was in town for the races from Perth. So we met him there. It's definitely better to be there in a group. It's also a quite expensive day. The tickets alone run a fair bit of money. Then there's the drinks, food, and bets all day. Luckily, we don't live too far from the track, so we took a train in. The train conductor announced our stop with "Those wearing suits, fascinators, and frocks this is your stop". That saved us a lot in the cash department. It's a fun excuse to get dressed up and throw away money on betting. I'm happy we made it, but we'll see if we're up for it next year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Getting down in Perth!

October marks one year cancer free for my Dad. Happy First Birthday, Daddy! We couldn't be luckier to have the caring, kind, burger loving Dad that we've got! We love you very much! I'm a better woman for having you as my Daddy! Right now Dad is renovating the upstairs of his house so that we have a comfortable place to stay when we come to the States. Thanks, Daddy! Love you!

 The weather is bi-polar. But we still try to get outside when we can. Last week we went on a few jogs or walks. On Saturday we did a bit of running around. I drove for the first time. Paul drove us to a fairly calm area and I took on the open road. The only problem was a large piece of wood in the middle of the road on our way home. Slowly but surely it will get easier. We also checked out a run down house,  with a outback dunny in the backyard! And placed a bet on the races. The horse races have officially begun. They are a huge deal in Oz. Dare I say bigger than the Kentucky Derby. There are races all over the country. But most are in Melbourne. Last week we made our first bet together on a horse. Our horse came in third, so we made a whole 8 bucks! Next week we'll be at the races. I have a dress to wear...or a few dress options. Now I need to find a fascinator and a hand bag. 

Paul had some work in Perth for a week. So I tagged along. We arrived in Perth on Sunday night. It was a bit too late to do anything on Sunday. On Monday Paul started work. After work we worked out at the hotel gym and sat in the sauna and spa bath. After we worked on our figures we went on a little walk in Fremantle. We started with a beer sampler, gelato, then we walked down by the water, and he showed me where the cattle exporters depart from. Down by the water there was some pretty sweet architecture. I liked these steel animal cut outs. There were about ten different ones. But the rat and the naked lady were my favourite. After our walk we stopped into Pizza Bella Roma, Paul explains it as "the best pizza in Freo!" We had a bit of confusion with the menu. It clearly states at the top that every pizza comes with cheese, sauce and a flour pizza base. Turns out one of the pizzas we ordered came with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parmesan. It's a good thing I asked Paul to ask them to overcook it, because that's when we found out it was a cheese-less pizza! Needless to say, we added cheese and it was still delicious. Paul ordered a meat lovers. In the time he ate his whole pizza, I had two and half slices of mine. His food never goes cold.

 We tried a beer sampler at a bar called Monk in Fremantle. I'm not typically a fan of dark beers. But all their dark beers were actually quite good. With the exception of one. It was described as a fruity beer. But I think it tasted more like a garlic piece of bread. After our beers we decided to start with Gelato for dinner and have pizza for desert. Paul had a Pistachio and Cappuccino cone. I had a Triple chocolate and hazelnut cone. We both really like the Cappuccino and Triple Choc, but the nut ice cream literally tasted like nuts. It's like they forgot to throw sugar into the recipe.


 I thought this looked like a tree cleverly disguised as a pine tree.

We also got to spend some time with the family. We saw Mum and Pauls brother Mick, along with Ness and the boys. Mum gave us some flower pots and some of Paul's great Grandma's jewelry for me, a necklace and earrings. I'm very excited to put the jewelry to good use! We need to get one of the earrings fixed and a 9 carrot gold chain for the necklace per Mums orders. Then we went out to dinner with Pauls sister, brother in law, and nephews on Tuesday. The boys were hilarious as always. We found out that they not only love LMFAO, but they also love Gangnam Style and they know the dance. It's been decided that the song must hold subliminal messages for kids, because all kids seem to love it!

On Thursday we took a drive down to Mullaloo Beach. On our way there we stopped off to grab a bite to eat. We were near the water. While we were eating we saw a plane flying low and sirens sounding. Paul's explanation was that there must have been a shark sighting. Once we made it to Mullaloo we took a walk down by the water. Paul used to go down here with his family as a boy. The water was crystal clear and the sand was incredibly soft. There weren't too many people there. The weather was warm, but the wind was a bit chilly. We did quite a bit of driving, and I didn't get car sick until we were nearly back to the hotel. Anyone who's driven with me knows I get car sick super easy. Pretty much the only person I can ride in a car with, with out getting sick is my Dad.

Cute sidewalk art.

Back home, safe and sound in Melbourne and no worse for wear. Apart from the fact that I forgot my hair straightener at home for the week we were away....and it was turned on. Well, the house didn't burn down and I'll never forget my straightener again. We also found a fascinator and hand bag in Perth for spring carnival races next weekend! Time to watch a movie and catch some zzz's.

xo, Meaghan

Monday, October 8, 2012

Spring Forward!

The weather is turning around in Melbourne. The past two days we made it down to the beach. Paul went for a jog while I laid in the sun & did some light reading. I've always envied women who would lay in the grass by themselves and read. I never had enough confidence to sit alone in public & read. I'm finally there & the feeling is exquisite.  It's funny how much you learn about yourself when you have the time. I've started jogging a few days a week and given up eating most meat. I still eat fish from time to time. It is a bit difficult to get the nutrients I need. But I'm still learning. Paul found some delicious veggie burgers. We've tried veggie burgers once before & they were awful. But the ones he picked up today are splendid! It makes it so much easier not to go back to my old ways and eat red meat. I'm starting to feel healthier than I've felt in ages. I know I've lost weight, because my clothes are fitting better. But I haven't been weighing myself. It's easy to work out and eat better when you don't work full-time. Paul is my personal trainer. He jogs almost every day. I quite enjoy jogging with him. We jog down to the beach and do a bit of a leg work out with park benches or park equipment. We also eat at home nearly every night, so we can dictate the calories we take in much easier. I still have my fair share of ice cream. That is something I will NEVER give up to shrink my waist line. We found some soy/gluten free ice cream at the store. The first bite was GROSS. But now it's yummy. I know I'm lactose intolerant, so I've given up regular milk as well. Suffice it to say it's quite nice finally having the time to take care of myself & eat better. Slowly, but surely Paul and I are redecorating the flat. We've got some new bedding, a buffet, and a couple of end tables. The salvation army here has some pretty awesome finds. I gave up on the Sal at home. 

Loving this quote. The further I get into my twenties the more I continue to grow.
Lying on my back while staring at the clouds and reading a good book are one of life's simple pleasures.

 This sign is down by the beach. It must be old as dirt, but it makes me giggle.
 Flowers make me smile.