Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Attend the Temple: In 37 Easy-to-Follow Steps

1- Leave your apartment at 3:05.  Yes, I know that’s FOUR hours before the session starts, but trust me on this.
2- Run to catch the 3:15 ferry.
3- Get nailed by a seagull somewhere between your apartment and the wharf...for the second time in a week.  (The seagulls, they love me.)
4- Try not to curse at the bird and your misfortune.  (You are going to the temple, after all.)
5- When you arrive in the city, duck into a McDonald's and steal some napkins

6- Moisten the stolen napkins at an obliging fountain and use them to wipe away the seagull excrement from your soiled bag.
7- Continue walking the ten blocks to your hubsy’s place of business.  Only, you should probably half-walk/half-run as you've lost a good deal of time messing with napkins and fountains and seagull poo. 
8- Retrieve your hubs and half-run/half-walk with him another few blocks to the train station.
 9- Take the train to Epping station, about a 45-minute ride.   
10- Walk a couple of blocks to a bus stop, which you hope is for the right bus.
11- Misread the route information at the stop and start walking the other direction to see if you can identify the “correct” bus stop.
12- When you see what actually is your bus coming up the street, run back toward the original stop to see if you can catch it.
13- Try not to curse when you don't make it.  (You are going to the temple, after all.)

14- Sit at the bus stop in a disgruntled manner because getting to the temple is so hard.
15- Reminisce about the good old days when you lived just down the street from the temple in LA. 
16- Get on the next bus when it arrives, and take it to the stop a few blocks from the temple.
17- Take a shortcut through the nearby shopping center.

18-  Purchase some interesting/not entirely appetizing items from the Asian bakery because you don’t have the time to sit and enjoy a legitimate dinner (if you can call a meal at KFC “a legitimate dinner”) as you had originally planned.
19- Eat a couple bites of the worst excuse for a chocolate croissant you've ever laid taste buds on while you simultaneously dodge eight lanes of traffic to cross the street to the temple.
20- Make a mental note to never trust an Asian-owned bakery chain with your French pastries.
21- Hand the rest of the thing masquerading as a chocolate pastry to the hubs to finish off as you exchange your flip-flops for heels.

22- Walk calmly, coolly and collectedly into the temple as if coming to the temple is a breeze and you are in the perfect frame of mind for a session.
23- When you come out of the temple after your session, do another quick wardrobe change, this time switching your heels for flip-flops so you're appropriately outfitted for the journey back home.

24- Hope against all hope, as you’re leaving the temple grounds, that someone leaving in a car might notice that you are leaving on foot and think to stop and ask you if you need a ride somewhere.
25- When no one does, make a pact with the Hubs that someday when you have a car again, you will offer rides where possible. Especially to temple-goers.
26- Make the 15-minute walk down the hill to the Carlingford train station.
27- Buy a ridiculously overpriced Sprite to sip/inhale as you wait for the train.
28- When the train arrives, choose your seat carefully as it is the end of the day and the end of the line and the whole car smells of urine and there are unidentifiable substances smeared on all surfaces. 
29- Try not to curse humanity as you settle in for the ride.  (You did just come from the temple, after all.)
30- Share your mister’s headphones to watch an episode of the Office to take your mind off the condition of the train car and make the trip go faster.  Choose the one that was the hour-long special, 'cause you will be on trains that long.

31- Get off the train at Clyde to transfer to the red line to get you back to the city.
32- Fight the Friday night bar mob for 10 blocks back to Circular Quay.  You should probably try to hold your breath most of the way because the cigarette smoke is so thick.
33- Arrive at Circular Quay only to learn you've just missed the ferry.
34- Wait 30 minutes for the next one.
35- Drag your filthy, disheveled and beat-down self off the ferry and across the street to your apartment building.
36- Test your mister’s patience in the elevator as you take one final picture to document the journey.

37- Collapse on the sofa and swear to yourself you will never leave your apartment again.

See? Nothin' to it. The whole trip only takes about 8 hours. And I figure the Pioneers’ trip from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley was probably almost as hard. I mean, they didn’t have to figure out the stupid public transportation system.
But still….

Monday, March 21, 2011

Corned Beef Love

This past Friday marked our six-month anniversary.  "How is that possible?!" you ask.  I have no explanation. I told the Hubs that in some ways it feels way shorter, and in other ways it feels way longer. Like we got married yesterday and also we've been married forever. New and old. Inhabiting the same space in time. Like something out of the Twilight Zone.

And, as everyone knows, nothing says love like corned beef.  Am I right or am I right?  With our six-month anniversary falling the day after St. Patty's seemed the only appropriate way to celebrate was probably with a big slab of corned beef (minus the cabbage).  So I went into the city and met the Hubs after work for dinner at Bistrode CBDHe's been raving about the corned beef here since he first partook of its deliciousness some time ago. The Hubs is not one to exaggerate, but having never experienced truly phenomenal corned beef, I must admit, I was not duly prepared. After devouring, I decided maybe I never wanted to eat anything else. Ever again. Maybe it's just my teeny-tiny sliver of Irish blood talking, but that CBD chef knows something about corning beef.

And to think it didn't even make our waiter's top recommendations. Probably because he was French.  And really, what does a Frenchman know about traditional Irish fare?  As for me and my fair Irish ancestors (and my Hubs of English descent), we know that corned beef love is indeed the truest of all loves.  (Believe me.  It is.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Longest Ladies in All the Land

The Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary 2 were in Sydney a couple of weeks ago.  I hopped the ferry into the city just to give them a gawk.  Can you blame me?  These are two ladies you ought to get a good look at if ever you have the chance. Definitely not your average cruise ships.

It was Mary's first time to Sydney.  She had parked herself over in Woolloomooloo Bay, making it hard for anyone to get a good look. (Such an elitist!) But Queen Elizabeth was hanging out right there for all to see, so my fellow ferriers and I got our fill of pics as we pulled up alongside her.  Felt like she went on for miles.

I honestly could not get over how massive she is. So much bigger than I'd imagined. Astonishingly, staggeringly, larger-than-life big.

It was almost as if someone had gone and plucked one of the skyscrapers out of the Sydney skyline and just laid it there on the water.  With the city as her backdrop, she seemed to blend right in, although, it was certainly a tight fit in the cove that day. 
Here's the skinny on her royal highness.

Queen Elizabeth:
Length: 964.5 feet 
Width: 106 feet 
Guest capacity: 2,068.  

She is second only to her sister, who is the largest cruise ship in the world.

Queen Mary 2:
Length: 1,132 feet 
Width: 131 feet wide
Guest capacity: 2,620.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ode to an Etude

I've had an etude by Czerny in my head for over a week. 

Here's the thing. I used to play the piano. A lot. Then I stopped. Not because I didn't want to play anymore, rather because in order to play the piano, one must have a piano to play. Granted there were always pianos I could have played, if I were the disciplined type who did what it took to fit that into my life.  But I'm not and I didn't.  I'm the type who wants a piano in the next room that I can play in my pajamas and bare feet, all lackadaisical like, whenever I want. I'm sure you understand.

Enter the J-dubhub and his 88 keys.  Don't tell him I said so, but I might have married him for his piano. 

A piano! In the living room!  That I can shuffle over to and play any ol' time.  Like when I should be going for a run.  Or when I should be doing the grocery shopping.  Or when I should be looking for a job. Or when I should be doing laundry.  Or when I should be making dinner.  You get the idea.

So, that's the long and short of it.  I'm getting squishy.  I still don't have a job. And the Hubs never has any clean clothes to wear or food to eat.  Because I'm playing the piano.


When I was at home in Texas last month I rummaged through the music cupboard to see if I could find any of my old piano books. Lo and behold. So many! It felt like an amazing discovery, the likes of which I had not known since maybe the day I found black beans in Australia. (But that's a story in and of itself.) I brought that whole stack of books back with me...which is mostly why my suitcase weighed as much as a small car. (But just a small one. A smart car, probably. That's not so bad.)

And my world is full of sonatinas and bourres and waltzes again. 

How happily they're all back in my head. Beethoven, Chopin, Bach, Haydn, Kuhlau.  Like old friends who have been away for a very long time. I catch myself singing their melodies everywhere I go.

And Czerny. He'll probably hang around for a while still.  With his etude and his octaves.

Welcome back, sir.