Saturday, December 11, 2010

i wear short shorts

and after the mojitos, i walked home. and on the way home, i popped into the local store. and in the local store, i fell for some shorts. and because i was a bit tipsy, i decided why not? and in cold light of sobriety, i still love my new shorts. win.

My shorts. Not my body.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

check me out

oh, we all have our little facebook gripes. i've had my whinge here but, in the end, i log on at least daily so (who am i kidding?) i am addicted.

but i am yet to see the benefit of this new checking in situation.

sat with three mates at corridor, sipping mojitos and watching newtown pass us by, one of said friends "checked" us in on facebook. is that even what it's called? in case i am getting it wrong, what i mean is she told facebook where she was and who she was with. and, because i was 'with', the check in appeared on my facebook page too.

now, there was no problem with this, on this occasion. but it did make me wonder: what if i had pulled out a little white lie to avoid something or someone in favour of mojitos at corridor. it's not like i make a habit of this kind of behaviour but it's fair to say, it happens. and i'm okay with that. unless i get caught out.

and, what if someone nearby notices that you've checked in. someone who you don't really need to see on a casual saturday arv? someone who doesn't understand that you don't really need to see them on a casual saturday arv. again, i don't mean to imply i run around town avoiding enemies. and, of course, why would i have enemies on facebook? but we all know there are mojitos-on-a-saturday-arv friends and there are facebook friends, right?

have you checked in?
been caught out?

Friday, December 3, 2010

stuff and nonsense*

my week has been totally shit, damn good and everything in between.

i don't want to write about why it was totally shit because i don't want to dwell in the shitiness of the shit. i don't want to write why it was damn good because the big positive has a niggling negative and i know i'll end up talking about the latter and i want to let it go for now.

what a stupid post. i have been entirely coy and useless.

i am, however, looking ridiculously forward to the weekend. summer has decided to pop by today which is great since rain had been predicted for the first 20-something days of december. what the? still, i think the wet stuff will soon return, but hopefully not before sunday because i have some grand, sun-dependant plans. i'll tell you about them some other time. perhaps.

i shoudn't tell you this, because it's busy enough as it is, but the finders keepers markets are on tonight and tomorrow so i'll be swinging by after a baffi and mo brunch in the morn. sweet.

i've just downloaded the new girl talk which i am already loving. after two years of listening to the same album on the treadmill, i can finally mix it up. yes, i do have other music on my ipod but nothing works like girl talk for me. one issue, i find it really difficult to run off beat. does that happen to anyone else? or should i add that to the reasons-why-i-am-weird list? oh, there's a list. ps: download for free here. 'tis legal.

so, our cricket team sucks. i don't like being crap at stuff and that extends to those who represent me (ie: the australian cricket team) but still, i just don't care as much as i used to. anyone who has ever watched state of origin with me pre-2006 will probably assume someone has hijacked camelshoes but: it's just sport. still, they'd better perk up for the second day of the fifth test because i didn't fork out 105 bucks to watch this shit.

uuum, what else? eh, how about just wrapping it up rather than scraping the bottom of the blog convo barrel? yes, good idea. you poor people who have continued reading waiting for substance. sorry.

have a grand weekend!! yeeeow!!

stay summer, stay!
*it's possible i've used this heading before. it sounds like something i would do. but i couldn't find it so i am rolling with it. forgive? thanks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

reintroducing my friend rick

i wrote this yesterday. it was sitting in drafts because i already posted yesterday. i know i am allowed to post twice in the space of 24 hours but i just can't - consider it my personal form of OCD. anyway, i decided i must post now while the topic is hot (physically, metaphorically). and it's hot because: one of the greatest posts ever written by the man i am about to speak of was yesterday posted on mamamia. please read it. it's truly amazing. and i am so. damn. proud.

there's this guy. his name is rick. he's not my boyfriend but i do kind of love him. i met him ahhh, about five years ago i think and, because both of us suffer from a very weird disease called socially-inept-around-new-people-but-i'll-get-there-and-then-we'll-be-great-mates, we didn't really talk much and just stewed in our respective corners of the newsroom.

and then one day, something happened. and i don't even remember what but i bet you it was awesome. the result? i realised this rick guy was fucking great. we started chatting more and my realisation only strengthened.

then we both discovered the other had this secret blog thing going. wow? you too? really? what's the address? i read and read and read and read. i couldn't stop. rick's blog was fucking amazing. hilarious for a start but also so very clever and, importantly, as honest and raw as any i've ever read.

that blog doesn't live in cyberspace anymore. rick got a new job, which was great, except it meant goodbye to the public display of all those fantastic words.

hiatus over. rick has returned to blogger through the ambiguity report and i am fucking stoked.

i am also swearing a lot. sorry. i try not to mostly. but this is a swear-worthy post because i am passionate about this guy and his words. i am so glad the two of them have reunited.

read his stuff. be inspired.

Monday, November 22, 2010

life's better with a book

do you know what's exciting? starting a new book and loving it from the first page. so few books, even some of my all-time favourites, have failed to do this. cannot wait to read on.

thanks a million to kate who recommended this read when commenting this book-related post a little while back.

Friday, November 12, 2010


i always keep my bad bananas. i stick them in the freezer because, you know, they're great for baking. but then i never bloody bake anything and i just end up with a stack of black bananas in the freezer.

frananas no more. i am baking a banana flavoured something, goddamit.

thanks to and its fantastic what-ingredient-do-you-want-to-use? search engine, i made the tastiest damn banana bread ever the other day. shall i share? okay.

bread us up, punks!
banana and coconut bread
serves 8 (or just me over a few days)

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
270ml can Ayam coconut cream
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about two bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. lightly grease a 6cm-deep, 
10cm x 20cm (base) loaf pan. line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at long ends.
2. sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. add sugar and coconut. stir to combine.
3. place coconut cream, eggs, banana and vanilla in a jug. whisk to combine. fold into flour mixture. spoon into prepared pan.
4. bake for 75 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
5. stand in pan for 10 minutes. turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
6. gobble.

taste reckons serve with strawberry jam. i reckon, whatever. there was no way i was putting anything on the final product. it didn't need it. delish.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

why i love editing: reason 759

some people write things like this:

The Establishment encourages you to assist in minimising the impact on the environment by taking practical steps to attain an environmentally sustainable transport system to the venue.

extract from real email send by real people. someone hand me my red pen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

oooo hindsight, you came and you found me a turkey...

i was just having a squiz at my post library and cleaning up my drafts. finishing them sometimes, deleting them mostly. i came across this way down the line. i wrote it in april. i am not sure why i didn't post. probably had one of my self-doubting moments. i've just read it, expecting it to be incomplete yet it seems finished. it also still rings true. so, here 'tis. how i felt in april. how i still feel now.

so, this post has been floating around in my mind for ages now. ages. and the only reason i haven't put finger to keyboard on the matter is time. me and my severe lack of time.

you might have noticed that i haven't written about dark days for a while. and that's because, well, i haven't really had any. i have my moments, fo' shiz. but something's clicked inside me. some little voice, which i wish had've spoken up years ago, has said 'nah, fuck it. i can't be bothered caring about that shit anymore'. it's grand. grand i tell ya.

but it's not all sunshine and lollipops in my world. things still get me down and i am still very much a work in progress. one thing i have pinpointed lately which i desperately need to address is my inability to see the wider picture when things go wrong.

for the first 12 hours at least.

i've noticed recently that i am, despite popular opinion (including mine), quite rational. i can see and respect others' points of view, even if i don't agree. i can take a deep breathe and move on when things aren't going my way. i can let go of things i cannot control. i can take a good look at my options and weigh up the ramifications.

yeh, i'm totally smart.

that said, i cannot do this until i have first had a complete meltdown.

aaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhh. there's no ice cream left. no. ice. cream.

sometimes it takes only a matter of minutes for me to: realise i am being irrational, calm down, take a common sense approach. so why can't i apply that reaction immediately? before the anxiety? the panic? the stress?

and it's not as though it takes any kind of inner pep talk to get to the rational stage. it just tends to happen. it's as though i simply need to get the crazy out of my system.

from this i have learned i should never react to difficult/bad/emotional/stressful/annoying situations immediately. i should probably even steer clear of voicing how i feel straight away, especially to anyone involved.

rather than a panic room, i think i require a vent room. full of cushions. and chocolate.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

keep calm and cut my hair

i tried a new hairdresser the other day. i'm not unhappy with my regular hairdresser - in fact, she's probably the best i've ever had (to the point that i can forgive her the water down the back during the rinse) - but i couldn't get an appointment before last saturday's wedding and really wanted slash needed a touch up.

i saw this as a opportunity to try a little place i'd spotted close to home. it's right next door to a cafe i frequent and the interior styling really appealed to me. it's got character where my regular salon's styling is a bit obvious.

i'll stick with obvious.

first, i had to return the next day to ask for the finished product to be fixed. then, i had to ask her it to be fixed a second time when the first 'fix' did nothing to alter my zebra sideburns. fuuuuurthermore, she made two serious conversation errors; both involving ill-thought out comments insulting my home town and the people who live there.

but the icing on the cake (well, it actually came first so it was more like the flour in the mix) is what i wanted to bring to your attention...

two weeks before my appointment i popped my head in the salon post coffee and managed to secure a highly sought after thursday night slot just before the wedding. winner. i briefly explained what i was after. hairdresser-to-be responded:

"yeh, it's looking a little brassy"..."hmmm, you're probably due for a cut".

thanks scissor sister but i've got two weeks left with this hair so lay off. plus, i didn't even book a god damn cut and you know it.

this happens to me all the time. in fact, one of the things i really liked about my regular was complete the absence of this sly criticism. the first hairdresser i tried in sydney was probably the worst. she spent the entire appointment returning to the subject of my hair's awful condition and how great it was going to be once she'd saved it.

what i can't work out is whether it's a strategy or not. they're essentially having a crack at the previous hairdresser, also known as the competition, so it makes business sense in a way. on the other hand, it doesn't encourage me to come back.

and i hate to play the 'busy' card but it's not easy to find three spare hours to sit in a chair no matter how up-to-date your magazine collection is. it's even harder when you have to give up a subsequent hour the following morning for mistakes to be rectified.

as a hairdresser, you should lead lead by example and always sport a spectacularly healthy and fashion-forward 'do. as a writer, i should lead by example and always illustrate strong spelling and grammar (lack of capitals acknowledged). and since i politely keep to myself the fact your shop sign is missing an apostrophe, i'd appreciate it if you left me and my brassy crop alone.


good, bad, ugly hairdresser experiences: got any?

Monday, November 1, 2010

making friends and influencing people

(as usual) in two minds about posting this. feel i need to get it off my chest. also feel that this post defeats the purpose of deleting the message (which you're about to read about) and trying to forget i ever read it. if this post goes missing at a later date, you know why.

i got a facebook message on friday. it was from a complete stranger. and, as far as i can tell, we don't have any friends in common either.

the subject line simply read "hi". the message?

"do you mean to come across as a pretentious dickhead on the internet?"

and that's it. that's all barry had to say.

a lack of alternatives suggests barry is referring to camelshoes.

i hate that barry's message was so hurtful. i hate that it made me rack my brain for possible pretentious posts. i hate that, for a moment, it made me wonder whether my online presence was worth the trouble.

but after the moment of drama i came to a pretty simple conclusion.

i don't believe i am pretentious. i don't believe camelshoes is pretentious. (although, if i am honest, i am sure both of us have had unintentional pretentious moments).

still, i would rather be pretentious than nasty and i think it's pretty nasty to seek out a complete stranger on the iternet just to make them feel low.

what about you. ever received hate mail?
does it get to you, or are you a water-off-a-duck's-back kind of person?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

here's to you mrs robertson

i love weddings. they are just gorgeous. how could such a celebration - such a grand gesture - be anything else? but, no doubt, there are some weddings that, by virtue of the people and by virtue of the styling, are more gorgeous than others.

it's all a matter of opinion, of course. and, in my opinion, saturday's wedding of scotty (too hotty) and shell was one of the most gorgeous i have ever seen.

scotty and shell have been together 11 years. i make that point for two reasons. one, it's true and two, i think, in an odd way, it is representative of our generation. a generation that will do things when they're ready, not when every one says they should be.

11 years has nothing to do with uncertainty because there's little in life more certain than the 'meant-to-be' status of scotty and shell. they are loved individually and as a couple by family and friends alike. it was such a pleasure to share saturday with them.

plus, s and s are both designers which means the day looked so damn good. a friend nikki said it perfectly: "such a beautiful wedding and so reflective of two beautiful people".

there were so many steal-worthy touches: the picture frame hanging from a tree branch (complete with polaroid camera, scrap book and pen); the bocce set on the lawn; the lanterns up above; the collection of frames scattered about inside, each housing an important moment in time; the giant white balloons floating over the cupcake display; blah, blah, blah...honestly, this list could go on and on.

it would be remiss of me to gloss over the speeches. every speech, but especially those of the mr and mrs themselves, comprised some of the most lovely, heart-felt words i've ever heard. there wasn't a dry eye in the house as scotty wrapped up with a few choice words about his beautiful bride. and she sure was beautiful.

i forgot my camera (because i am good like that) so here is a small collection of photos i have unashamedly stolen from friends.

and the deed is done!

two beautiful (and expecting) bridesmaids

one of countless memorable touches at the charming venue
a better look at the gorgeous dress, the gorgeous bride

our little message to the bride and groom
it starts with photo geek. it continues with 'shin kicker'.

where our nights always end up

congratulations scotty and shell on a beautiful day. i know i am not alone when i say i look so very forward to spending more wonderful (and stylish) moments with you both.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a random collection of words to fill the white space

awful. just awful.

previous post equals almost three weeks ago. i haven't been the neglectful in a very long time.

insert ramble about work playing time thief. boo.

work is still stealing excessive minutes so i am not going to delve into anything here. but i just had to pop in and say a quick hello.

hello. how are you?

i'm good.

lots to tell you. and i look forward to reacquainting with the written word.

for now, a summary.

watching: it's hard to say. our television has the worst reception so i am kind of watching tv snow. i like background noise but i get too involved in music to concentrate on the task at hand.

reading: a book the title of which i can't even tell you. and i am almost finished. needless to say, it's not blowing me away. i am persevering because i didn't buy it expecting it to blow me away. i bought it because i thought the writing style (more on that another day) would prove an inspiration...or perhaps an educational deterrent.

playing: still can't get enough of flo and the machine on the iPod. i know, it's probably time to move on. but she still makes me happy. perhaps because i listened to her throughout italy and she takes me back. come november i plan to be playing a lot of he will have his way.

eating: frozen dinners. so lame. so convenient. but i make up for it with my weekend fare. sydney readers, i implore you: baffi & mo.

drinking: way to much red wine on the weekend. not enough water today.

planning: melbourne in january. australian open plus great ocean road. tips most welcome.

loathing: spring pretending to be winter. very funny, buddy.

loving: among other things, i am loving that on saturday, two very wonderful people will be getting married. all the very best scotty and shell. a match made in wagga wagga. i am so excited to see what kind of wedding day you've both created. i know it will be stunning. xox

and a little picture to close, because it really has been too long.

To continue the wedding theme. Admired at and pinched from 100 layer cake.

Friday, October 1, 2010

a new take on an old system. join me, won't you?

camelshoes used to sport the follow gadget. it doesn't anymore. the reason can be found, in part, right here.

but while i've rejected the gadget, i haven't rejected the concept.

if you like what you find here - like what you see, like what you read - i would love you to follow along.

here's how.

bloggers: see the search box thing in the top left corner of this page? and see the word follow next to it? click that.

non bloggers: scroll down. scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll. when you hit the bottom (after the last post but before the disclaimer) you'll see it says 'subscribe to'. click that.

go on. you know you want to. but hey, if you don't, just don't. i'll keep playing with words regardless.

*another big thanks to all who commented on the linked post. you made the decision so very easy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

i'm sorry, did i hurt your feelings?

you guys wouldn't stop following, right?

i'm having a bit of a blog crisis. and by crisis, i mean minor issue. (c'mon, exaggeration makes things sound better).

i'd like your advice actually. especially fellow bloggers.

see that little box on the right? come fly with me is where the followers of this blog live. i am hugely chuffed that people follow this blog. when i see that number go up, i smile. and in a funny way, i feel as though it validates all the crazy words you can find here.

that said, i am thinking about getting rid of the 'follow' gadget.

there are a few reasons but it's safe to say the thought process started last week when four (FOUR!!!) followers stopped...ahhhh...following me.

it felt awful.

all i could think is that i had upset someone, written something they were offended by or, worse, had been consistently boring the hell out of them over time.

what i know is, the reality is probably much less dramatic.

what i also know is, even if someone was bored and/or offended, i must learn to accept that because this is my blog with my words and i shouldn't second guess it.

but anyway, that's not the reason i am thinking of booting the follow tool. it was the catalyst for the thought, but there's more to it.

the whole following concept, in my opinion, is (in many cases at least) manufactured popularity. to reiterate, i am stoked people choose to click camelshoes's follow button. but i am quite confident plenty of those followers don't actually read camelshoes. and if you're reading this, i guess i am not talking about you, so that gets me off any potential offending :)

don't get me wrong. i know we're all busy. i often find it hard to sit down and catch up on the blogs i truly enjoy reading too. and i am in no way suggesting followers should read every single post. but do you ever get the feeling people follow you just so you'll follow them back? great trick, i'm sure, but i don't want to play that game.

on the other side of the coin, there are a lot of people who follow camelshoes in the legitimate sense. people who i know and love in the real world. people like this mean the world to camelshoes yet they're not captured by some 'follow' button.

i guess the number in that corner is unlikely to be an accurate indication of who really follows camelshoes. there might be 50 followers, there might be 500, but i will guarantee there aren't 105* (or, in week-old language, 109).

so, get rid of the icon.
yeh, but i don't want to lose those who stumble across camelshoes and would like to stay. well, stop caring about 'unfollowers'. you don't even know them. yeh, but i am kind of neurotic.

help! what are your thoughts on the follow concept?

ever had a similar confidence hit?

got a winning solution?

*a warm welcome and thank you to lazarus who became follower 106 while this blog was sitting in drafts. i certainly needed the confidence boost :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

i like to wear bright socks

you need to watch this. now.

thank you cd for bringing it to my attention.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

three course meal with a side of epiphany

i mentioned in the italy part II post that a few of us took the opportunity to take a cooking class in florence. if i'm honest, i would have liked it to feel a little more authentic. that said, we had a ball and ate some wonderful food.

cookin' up a storm
our teacher was giovanni (of course it was) and, truth be told, he was a bit of a tool. a harmless tool, but a tool all the same. still, he made an off the cuff comment which instantly resonated, for different reasons i'm sure, with each pf us. something which, i very much hope, will stay with me forever.

after opening a can of peeled tomatoes, giovanni proceeded to peel a bunch of the now freed fruit. one of his students commented: 'but they're meant to be peeled'. oh so casually, giovanni replied:

"if it is real, it cannot be perfect"

wow. epiphany. he might have been talking tomatoes, but it meant a whole lot more to me.

these words have already made an impact. i am finding it easier to be forgiving of human error. the best part is, that includes my very own human errors.

this is particularly wonderful because i make heaps.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

my words just won't do

it amazes me to think one year ago i was in krakow, poland. time sure does fly. i intended to blog that experience back then. not so much krakow but the day trip i took to auschwitz.

i never quite got around to it. time wasn't on my side for starters. august slash september 2009 was a mad rush of travel and goodbyes, relocation and hellos. but i guess there was another reason the post fell by the proverbial wayside. i just couldn't quite find the words.

for me, and i am sure most people, auschwitz conjures up horrific and incomprehensible thoughts and images.

and there i was: standing next to gas chambers where millions - millions! - of jews were exterminated; inside horse stables where lives were 'lived' and eventually lost through forced labor, starvation, disease and medical experiments.

wost of all, for me, was the large 'display window' full of human hair which had been hacked off prisoners' heads upon arrival at the camp for the purpose of industry. they found seven tons of it. on the other side of the wall: 'mug shots'. hundreds and thousands of photos of men, women, children - all stripped of dignity, emptiness in their eyes. awful.

it was soul wrenching, no doubt about it, but still: it was a pretty autumn day, the crisp air and light sunshine both flirting with my senses. the place was full of tourists all comfortably dressed, camera in tow and sharing the experience with family and friends.

we were all physically in auschwitz but we will never be in auschwitz.

elie wiesel was. his first-hand account, the following excerpt particularly, will stay with me forever.

In the wagon where the bread had landed, a battle ensued. Men were hurling themselves against each other, trampling, tearing at and mauling each other. Beasts of prey unleashed, animal hate in their eyes. An extraordinary vitality possessed them, sharpening their teeth and nails.

A crowd of workmen and curious passersby had formed all along the train. They had undoubtedly never seen a train with this kind of cargo. So, pieces of bread were falling into the wagon from all sides. And spectators observed these emaciated creatures ready to kill for a crust of bread.

A piece fell into our wagon. I decided not to move. Anyway, I would not be strong enough to fight off dozens of violent men! I saw, not far from me, an old man dragging himself on all fours. He had just detached himself from the struggling mob. He was holding one hand to his heart. At first I thought he had received a blow to the chest. Then I understood: he was hiding a piece of bread under his shirt. With lightening speed he pulled it out and put it to his mouth. His eyes lit up, a smile, like a grimace, illuminated his ashen face. And was immediately extinguished. A shadow had lain down beside him. And this shadow threw itself over him. Stunned by the blows, the old man was crying:

"Meir, my little Meir! Don't you recognise're killing your father...I have bread...for you....for you too..."

He collapsed. But his fist was still clutching a small crust. He wanted to raise it to his mouth. But the other threw himself on him. The old man mumbled something, groaned, and died. Nobody cared. His son searched him, took the crust of bread, and began to devour it. He didn't get far. Two men had been watching him. They jumped him. Others joined in. When they withdrew, there were two dead bodies next to me, the father and the son.

I was sixteen.

so you see then, where my words fall short.

Monday, September 6, 2010

1000 words

blogtography mondays, a little something i created to get the post count rolling as much as to share wonderful pictures, has been a weekly tradition for more than a year here on camelshoes.

but, all of a sudden, i decided i was over it.

i was going to keep going until i hit some kind of 'significant' sign-off figure. but then i wondered why the hell i would bother. what's wrong with signing off on blogtography mondays post number 56? what makes it worse than 50? 100?

so yes, as you might guess, blogtography mondays will draw to a close today.

i am grateful to have a wonderful catalogue of pictures to look back on. pictures that meant something to me, made me smile or were just damn sexy. and there'll be a lot more great pictures scattered throughout my words as camelshoes progresses.

but that's just it. this is a words blog. i am a words girl.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the house of lame and boring

so, the house of sand and fog is the most boring book ever. at least, that's what i thought. i am (was) more than half way through the 400-odd pages and, for the first time in my life, had decided to give up on a book.

i googled the title. i wanted a picture so i could tell you how i was going to get all arts and craftsy and turn this...

into this...

enter wikipedia and the two paragraph synopsis. seems i was bored because everything, and i do mean everything, happens after page 289.


"Out of desperation, Kathy goes to her home and attempts to commit suicide twice, first trying to shoot herself and secondly overdosing on pills. The Behranis manage to stop her both times, and she is put in a bedroom to rest. Lester breaks into the house and locks the Behranis in their bathroom at gunpoint until they agree to sell the house back to Kathy. When Lester takes the Behranis to the county office, Behrani’s son, Esmail, gets a hold of the gun and is shot by the authorities that surround him. When Behrani finds out in the hospital that his son has died, he is overcome with grief and rage at both Lester and Kathy. He returns to the house to find Kathy there, and attempts to strangle her to death. Believing Kathy to be dead, he dons his uniform and suffocates both himself and his wife, who had been asleep in the bedroom."

wow, it's like summer bay. i knew there must have been something coming because oprah wanted to marry this book and i want to marry oprah.

but now i know how it ends so i still think i'll end up turning this...

into this...

so, do you always finish reading what you start?
or are you happy to give a book the flick mid-read?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

i now pronounce you marito e moglie

remember how i started this but then didn't finish it? i wanted to add pictures but had to wait until wedding no. 2 so i didn't ruin the dress surprise. well, the second wedding is done and dusted so, here 'tis: italia: part uno.

okay, okay, okay. italy.

oh italy.

we've been back almost a week* now but, god, it already feels like so long ago. sigh.

i don't know where to start. the obvious choice would be at the beginning but i can't do that.

why? because i have to save the best till last and we kick started italy in the most amazing place i have ever been.

well, how about the point of the trip, the wedding? good idea.

set in what i have been calling regional tuscany (because it's easier that way), the wedding of fiona and alfredo was always going to be a special experience.

we (the boy, ange, clare and i) were staying in a bed and breakfast about 10 minutes drive away from the wedding venue. a bed and breakfast i cannot recommend highly enough. casa monte cucco was more than we ever could have hoped for, although things started a little ominously.

we arrived about three hours later than we should have after a 90-minute wait for a pre-booked hire car and a nightmare of a time trying to get out of rome. "all roads might lead to rome but none of them freakin' get you out" said the mister at one point. still, when you turn left one block too soon and end up circling the colleseum for the third time, it's hard not to laugh.

we followed the directions to our b&b but, as it turned out, those directions only get you so far. we could not, for the life of us, work out where to turn off the main road. we knew we were close but we lapped that street three or four times looking for a sign, any sign. in the end, cucco was about five more turns and 10 minutes completely off the beaten track. this, in the end, was part of its appeal but a little heads up would have been great.

all was forgiven when we pulled up. italian homestead much? the house was gorgeous, the rooms were gorgeous, the setting was gorgeous, the hosts were so, so, so gorgeous. plus, in a huge bonus, we discovered were staying in the same place as the lovely pablo and elodie - a french couple who were also wedding guests.

we spent much of our time in the pool and slash or jacuzzi. surrounded by 360 degrees of rolling green hills and olive trees. seriously. we swam, we lazed, we....

yeh, we pretty much entertained ourselves in this very fashion for 90 per cent of the stay. all we really needed was a tennis ball and it would have been australia's favourite sport, 'classic catches', on tour. next time.

anyway, i am meant to be writing about the wedding of fiona and alfredo which was, in a nutshell, fantastico! the bride was stunning. yes, she my friend and of course i would say that but she truly, truly was. the groom, of course, was very handsome. and the two of them? tear jerkers! i think it was alf who shed the first tear...that promoted fi to do the same and then pretty much everyone else followed suit.

you may now wipe your tears and kiss the bride
given half the guests spoke english and no italian and the other half spoke italian and no english (with a couple of exceptions) the ceremony was conducted in both languages. such a unique experience which i think we will all cherish.

the food and wine, as you might imagine given our location, was delicious. unlike your average australian wedding, there were eleventy six courses. we started with aperitif (pre-dinner drinks with nibblies in oz speak), then antipasto (ahhh, favourite!!) which i assumed was entree but, no.

entree was spinach and ricotta ravioli with sage and butter sauce. drooling? yeh, it was glorious. if only we were warned there were two entrees the boy might not have said yes when the waitress offered seconds. and he probably wouldn't have said yes when she offered thirds (ps: were were warned. he swears he didn't hear).

entree two? wild boar pappardelle. ahhh, yum! i had no idea i was eating boar for the first time but i'm a carnivore so that's okay.

mains involved rare beef and amazing roasted vegetables followed by pork and delish roasted potatoes. or was it the other way around? can't remember. the wine was too good.

because we'd been served many small meals, i had time to realise i was full and (those who know me won't believe it) could not eat dessert. i was so disappointed to because it was fruit flan which i freakin' love. sorbet cocktails were also served and i did manage to squeeze one of those in.

but seriously, there was more to this wedding than food. let's start with a little game we like to call 'photo geek'.

why not play along at home? simply nominate one person to be the photo geek and while they pose as if they've never been so excited to be in a photo, the rest of the gang should react with appropriate disdain.

anyway...the speeches, like the ceremony, were beautifully touching. all translated into english or italian by a bilingual groomsman. although we didn't understand most of it, listening to the italian speeches was somehow just as wonderful as hearing the english versions. both the father of the groom and the bride spoke and the bond between them was quite obvious. since they'd only met a week earlier, and neither could speak the other's language, watching them together was really quite special.

having already whet our appetite with a spontaneous conga line earlier in the evening, the night wrapped up on the dance floor. this is kind of my favourite place. ever.
weddings always seem to go so fast. i guess because i am usually having so much fun. it was definitely disappointing when the music died - i can't imagine how that would feel when (if) i am the bride one day. although perhaps i'll be so exhausted, i'll welcome it.

and here's something special. the bride ever so kindly sent me a few of her most favourite pics from the professional photographer. she just recieved them. all 1800 of them. here are four. 

okay, so, turns out i had a lot to say about the wedding. this whole italy thang might have to be a two-parter.

*actually, much, much longer than that now. sob.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

what would beyonce say?

before italy, the boy got asked a bunch of times whether this trip would be proposal time. some people didn't even bother asking, they just told him: "you'll get engaged over there".

no one said anything to me...until we got back.

"so, are you engaged?"..."where's the ring?"..."did he pop the question?"

i just find it odd. and it kind of makes me feel odd too. i mean, firstly, if i get engaged, i'm going to tell you, trust me. but secondly...i don't know...being asked kind of makes me feel like i am, in some way, falling short of some universal expectation.

and hey, i totally understand why people were guessing we'd return engaged. and there's nothing wrong with that. but must they ask?

even worse, those (and, in my experience they are aaaaalways 50-plus) who, once informed that no, we did not get engaged, proceed to hit the boy up about when he plans to pop the question, even suggesting (in jest, i understand) he's dragging the chain...while i am right there!

i can deal with it. we can deal with it. we are happy and content and that's what matters. it just surprises me that people think it's within the rules of courtesy to probe.

reasonable line of questioning or a social faux pas?
your thoughts?

Friday, August 20, 2010

you spin me right 'round, baby

so, australia votes tomorrow, hey? should be interesting. and exceptionally close i would imagine.

here's a secret (which is about to be, in no way a secret): i'll be voting for jules.

and here's the disclaimer: NO, i am not voting for julia gillard because i am a woman. but you can damn well be sure that's a significant part of the reason i would never vote for tony abbott. what a tool.

have fun at the polls. hope you score a sausage sizzle!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

cosmic love

one week ago, i was watching this amazing woman be completely and utterly amazing. ah-maze-ing. florence welch. florence and the machine to be precise. if you haven't heard of them, check it. if you have, let's gush together.

ps: this photo is pretty special, huh? well, i can't take credit. but i will give it to my mate peta. kudos matey.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

book club time

i read an amazing book during my holiday. this. was. not. it.

in fact, my sister's keeper was kind of lame. i read it after said amazing book since i still had plenty of holiday left. the storyline (daughter sues parents for medical emancipation after years undergoing operations to help keep her dying sister alive) is a good one but the implementation was a 400-page cliche.

disclaimer: if i knew how to churn out novels which appealed to the masses and made me squillions, i would totally do it. but that doesn't mean i have to enjoy reading such work.

my sister's keeper kind of reminded me of james patterson's stuff of the last five-odd years. james patterson and all his mates that is. it feels formulaic. like the author didn't really bother thinking about it but just filled in the gaps. ticked all the boxes.

to be fair, i picked up my sister's keeper less than 24 hours after i put down one of the best books i have ever read so it was a hard-act-to-follow sitch. which brings me to:

i have not stopped thinking about we need to talk about kevin since i put it down. it's one of those rare books i feel i need to read again immediately. author lionel shriver (a woman by the way) has an exquisite way with words and, in this case, she uses them to illustrate a powerful, emotional and provocative story.

the ultimate debate is nature versus nurture. was kevin born evil? or was it his upbringing (essentially a distant mother and over-eager father) that urged him to kill nine people in a high school massacre at age 15?

but this book isn't about a high school shooting. it's about the path towards it. we pick up post-massacre but look back to pre-crime with a series of letters written by kevin's mum to his dad. as she tries to come to terms with her son's crime, eva examines her life, her choices in an effort to understand how things went so very, very wrong.

read it. seriously. and, if you're feeling as though it starts a little slowly, persevere. the intricate platform is key to getting involved in the debate you'll be dying to have post-read.

have you read 'kevin'? what did you think?

and where do you stand on nature v nurture?

Monday, August 2, 2010

a moment in time

favourite holiday snap. yes mum, i'll send you a copy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

i was in italy. i'm not anymore.

you're getting part two of the italy story first. is that okay?

i started writing part one yesterday but the word count started to creep up and little so i decided to keep it wedding specific. to break up the words, i'd like to include photos. but, mr and mrs cerboneschi are having wedding: take II in a few weeks' time (this one's in oz) and we don't want to spoil the dress surprise for anyone now do we? no.

so, that post is sitting in drafts. this post is not. der.

bookending the lovely tuscan wedding of fiona and alfredo was three-plus weeks of italian bliss. it started on the amalfi coast, finished in the nation's capital and included a new addition to my top five all-time favourite destinations. in fact, while my current top five was written in no particular order, this spectacular location can go straight to the head of the class.

congratulations...drum roll please...positano.

look, there are probably photos which better depict this glorious destination but this is an absolute fave. it's damn hard to get a six ft six guy and a five ft nothing girl in a self portrait while sufficiently capturing the backdrop. this is stupid and i like it.

anyway, positano. camelshoes' number one travel destination. why? it's gorgeous. it's charming. it's ocean adjacent. i just fell in love. while there are certainly a lot of tourists, i didn't find it 'touristy' or crowded...and we were there in the middle of their summer.

our stay here also included time in amalfi, sorrento (formally of top-five standard, now bumped for its neighbour), pompeii and capri island.

i won't go into those or we'll be here forever. but worth a mention is the ricotta and pear flavoured gelati we gobbled in sorrento. best. flavour. ever. (until venice).

there's a little hole in the story here which takes in the three days we spent in 'wedding ville'. i'll pick up in florence.

firenze was so pretty and bolstered by the company. we had a couple of friends still with us from the wedding and a couple more waiting in florence. mike's sis and a friend of a friend also met us on day two. good times. a highlight of florence was the cooking course a few of us took which yielded fantastic bruschetta, scrumptious pasta and delish tiramisu.

the cooking was fun. the eating was better.

next stop siena and it was just the boy and i once more. we had three nights booked here which quite a few people had implied would be a long time for such a small place. but, in hindsight, i would not have wanted to do it differently. siena was beautiful. yep, absolutely, it was small. but for me, travel is much more about wandering, discovering, eating, drinking, soaking up atmosphere and i reckon you can do that anywhere.

one of the best things we did was hire a scooter and zip around tuscany for a couple of days. still based in siena we visited a heap of small towns and wineries - places off the beaten track. perfecto.

zoom zoom.

then it was off to venice. i luuuuuurved venice. to me, it's the epitome of italy. those quaint canals dotted with cute dingys winding around charming homes - it was postcard stuff. and forget pear and ricotta ice cream. i got a hankering for a scoop one particularly hot day and, sticking to our 'never-order-the-same-flavour-twice' mantra, i opted for something i had never seen before. it was, hands down, the best flavour i've ever tried. the problem is, i don't remember what it was. all i can tell you is that i am pretty sure coconuts and hazelnuts were involved.

one of a glut of venetian selfies.

from venice to milan. italy's fashion capital, apparently. we never expected milan to compare, visually, to those places we'd already been and, save the duomo, it didn't. but, my oh my, that duomo.

right in the heart of milan, it definitely the most impressive building i have ever seen. so much detail. i could have sat on that roof all day. but, places to see, cocktails to drink. lakes to visit. lake como to be precise. beautiful. tranquil. a day trip for us but definitely somewhere i would happily stay longer. plus, the chances of seeing george clooney are pretty good.

the climax of our four weeks was the cinque terre. on the coast of the italian riveria, cinque terre was, ahhh, good. lovely. beautiful in fact. but ever so slightly disappointing. and it's not cinque terre's fault. it's mine. me and my silly expectations. i though ct would blow me away. it did not. positano did but not the chink.

we got 'the walk' under out belt, because that's what you do in ct. 12km long, the track takes you from monterosso to riomaggiore via vernazza (below), corniglia and manarola. or vice versa. these are the '5 lands'. we were warned against tackling the walk since we didn't bring trainers but, in all honesty, we completely killed it in thongs (flip flops, jandals) so i am glad we went for it.

the highlight of ct was lunch at locanda lorena. we had been given step by step instructions by the father of the bride at the wedding. so, we jumped on the ferry to portovenere, found the courtesy speedboat to palmaria island and sat down to one of the most glorious meals of the trip. such a wonderful day. thanks paul.

the train from cinque terre to rome was sad. not because the end was nigh but because we had the pleasure of sitting next to halitosis woman. now, i truly don't mean to be cruel but one, she's not reading and two, it was unbearable. as soon as she stepped into the six-seat carriage, mike and i looked at each other in fear. we had a good couple of hours with this woman and it was impossible. every time she spoke, and she was with family so she spoke often, a thick fog of yuck swept over the rest of us. it's hard to be polite when you're gagging but we survived and made it safely, albeit traumatised, in rome.

we'd both been to rome before so didn't feel the need to see the sights. we had a few presents to pick up and, of course, wanted to indulge in some final italian foodie moments but it was effectively arrivederci to ialty and our amazing holiday.

a week later it feels like a lifetime away. that's what reality will do to you i guess. but we have fantastic memories, great photos and a freakin' super tan!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

i can't get no sleep (ps: i'm home)

camelshoes has been a little light on of late but i have an awesome excuse, also known as four week holiday. tales of that amazing italian adventure to come including a new entry in my top five (sorry sorrento, you're out).

for now i just wanted to say hi, i'm home, and i have never been so exhausted. it's 17.33 on tuesday and i am heading into my 34th consecutive hour without sleep. i cannot put into words the pain of last night. i was so tired yesterday but could not for the life of me so much as nod off last night. jet lag? i guess so. i've taken plenty of long-haul flights and never suffered before so am perhaps getting it all at once.

so, an early night tonight for me (please, please, please).

i really look forward to catching up on blogs and updating mine but want to do so when my mind is actually working so am going to give it another day or two.

just quickly, i cracked 100 followers while i was away which makes me smile so welcome newcomers. i look forward to popping over your way very soon. i also lost a follower between sunday and today. why the face? shees.

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