Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.45

The cuteness of these two as they're bird-watching is just too much.

Mondays, I have the day typical Monday consists of running errands, doing chores around the house, and a little bit of this.

Jacaranda trees + sun rays = Springtime in Sydney

What's a girl to do on a sunny Spring day?  Buy some gelato & watch the ferries.

Even the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man needs to scratch his butt from time to time. 

I had trick-or-treaters!!!!  And, I felt like such a failure. I actually ran out of treats. Raiding the pantry happened. 

My friend's baby boy sporting his pearl snap-bolo tie onesie from Texas that a bought him. He's pretty perfect. 

Happy Weekending Y'all!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Favorites: Costumes edition

We all know that Halloween is this weekend.  In America, Halloween was my favorite holiday because I'm a gal who loves to dress up in costume.  It's not the same here in Australia.  It's not a holiday that has generated a whole lotta interest.  The popularity is growing, but it's just not the same.  I've said that I wanted to throw a Halloween-tastic party ever since I moved here.  I shoulda done it this year - Halloween being on Saturday, and all - coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Anywho....April gave me the great idea to post a pic of a particular costume after we discussed costume favorites.  That is coming...but let's talk a walk down memory lane to see some of my favorite times to dress up in costume.

First grade school play ... I was an elf.  Those were the good old days when costumes consisted of tights and homemade outfits cut out of felt.

Seventh grade slumber party - I'm on the right - we had some kind of talent show thing happening, and we lip-synched a song.  I guess you could say we I was dressed like a member of a sad lookin' girl group.  I think.  I'm not 100% sure.  What I do know is that my hair is showing promise of my hair-teasing abilities to come.

Eleventh grade - dance/drill team officers' Novelty dance - Yep, that's me, your friendly, cowardly lion.  I loved this dance., we all suited our characters.

Before Britney Spears dressed up like a school girl to hit you baby one more time, I dressed up like a school girl for a college Halloween party.  I'm on the left.  Apparently, I'm a trendsetter.  

Another Halloween in college, another costume thrown together.  This time with the (then) boyfriend's cowboy hat and red one-piece pajamas/thermal underwear for a redneck cowgirl look.  You know, the kind with the flap on the butt.  Yep.  These had that. 

And...another Halloween in the college years.  Both KD & KMW used my leotards and tights (dance team comes in handy for costumes) for their costume inspirations.  I accompanied KD's Sandy (last scene from Grease) with myself dressed as Stephanie Zinone (Grease 2).  These were also the years that my eyes were always glow in the dark red because anti-red eye combatants hadn't been invented yet.  ALSO, these were the years without camera phones, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that fact.

I'm disappointed because somewhere in the midst of these costumes, I dressed as a really cool looking Geisha Girl...had my make-up professionally done and everything...but I can't find a photo of this event.  Boo!

My one & only time that I ever bought one of those sexy costumes for Halloween.  Probably because I felt like my body was at its best.  So, sexy Snow White it was.  I was also taking diet pills (practically prescribed speed)...that's why my body will never look like this again, and I'm okay with that. 

This also started me trying out different hair colors because I actually liked my look in this wig (although I never actually dyed my hair black...maybe when I'm over pink  hair?)  That's my cousin with me.  She was pregnant and proud that she (for once in her life) had ample cleavage.

Last year, I dressed as a witch for a one year old's birthday party.  It was "fancy dress" witches, goblins, and fairies.  I dug my make-up, but I sweat like a mad woman in it.

In 2000 (or maybe 1999), we had a themed party for dress like your favorite decade.  This started a repeat showing of dressing like an '80s rocker groupie chick.  This is the only pic I could find of that night, but rest assured, I was rockin' an airbrushed Poison t-shirt signed by Rikki Rockett with vinyl pants.

In 2008, I resurrected the '80s rocker groupie chick twice.  I only have the photos above & below to show for one of those occasions.  This was while I was still on diet wearing latex stretch pants was an option.  No longer is that the case. favorite night of all...for the fun of it, and for our costumes:  Halloween 2008 before I moved to Australia; my last Halloween in America.  *tears*

Allow me to introduce you to my E2.  We're the Erins.  Depending on who you talk to, I'm Erin 1, and she's Erin 2 (or the other way around).  With my group of friends, she just became "Two" or "E2".  Besides the skirt that she is wearing, I dressed both of us entirely from things in my closet.  Backstage passes and all.  I was proud of this ensemble. 

What's your favorite Halloween costume that you ever created or wore?

Never fear...Ten Things That Made Me Happy will return.  I just haven't been very organized.  Today, linking up with Amanda for Friday Favorites:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Under the Covers with Erin and Jana: Playlist 4

So, about a month ago Erin (that's me!) and Jana put together this crazy awesome playlist of hairband songs (WHAT?! You missed it? Well, you're in luck because it's still available for your listening/reading pleasure) and then we had the idea that we should do yet another crazy awesome playlist. Except this time we decided we'd take rock band covers of non-rock band songs. Think things like Train covering Aerosmith's "Dream On". DAMN. SO GOOD.  

(Okay...Jana wrote the intro, and I have a strong, solid belief that no one should sing "Dream On" except Steven, now I will need to go listen to Train's version to see if my conviction still holds true.) 

Also, you should listen to Pat Monahan singing "Love Me Two Times" with the surviving members of the Doors. Well, the ones who were surviving in 2009. I think at least another one is dead now. I'm digressing big time here, as a music fan does when discussing music but perhaps I should circle this back around to the main point of the post.  Cover songs. That Erin and Jana picked for you to listen to and assembled into a handy list.  Have at it and let your ears feast on these:

Mr. Big, "30 Days in the Hole" (originally by Humble Pie)

Disturbed, "The Sound of Silence" (originally by Simon and Garfunkel)

Social Distortion, "Ring of Fire" (orginally by Johnny Cash)

Guns N Roses, "Live and Let Die" (originally by Wings)

 Halestorm, "Bad Romance" (orginally by Lady Gaga)

 I Prevail, "Blank Space" (orginally by Taylor Swift)

Steel Panther, "Don't Stop Believin'" (originally by Journey)

 Marilyn Mason, "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" (originally by The Eurythmics)

Seether, "Careless Whisper" (originally by Wham!)

 Van Halen, "You Really Got Me" (originally by The Kinks)

Metallica, "Turn the Page" (orginally by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band)

Shinedown, "Simple Man" (originally by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Breaking Benjamin, "Enjoy the Silence" (originally by Depeche Mode)

Fall Out Boy ft/ John Mayer, "Beat It" (originally by Michael Jackson)

To summarize:

There were a TON of great covers we left off the list in the interest of space and time and not wanting to bore anyone.  Honorable mentions: Darling Nikki by the Foo Fighters (originally Prince), Stay by Thirty Seconds to Mars (originally Rhianna), Blue Monday by Orgy (originally New Order), Your Mama Don't Dance by Poison (originally Loggins & Messina).
Let us know--what are some of your favorite cover songs?  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

#hashtaghumpday: The Destructive Duo Strikes Again

These girls.  Sally & Dolly.  If you've been around here for a while, you've seen me moan groan bitch whinge complain talk about their destructive behaviour before.  Some of these pics have probably been shared as well.  #sorrynotsorry #imlazy #immakingapointhere

Anything that tears, rips, or's history.  If it is made out of foam, even better.  If there is stuffing to pull out of say, a stuffed animal, or a pillow, or a lounge cushion, awesome.  To steal borrow from Megan, let's hashtag #goatdogs #yestheyeatwood

Confession:  We left the backyard looking like this for weeks after about the zillionth time they caused it to look this way.  #notsorry

Dude.  Sally's face kills me in this one.  If that isn't the look of shame, I don't know what is.  #guilty #caughtredhanded #iknowimcutesoshecantstaymadatme

"Oh.  What?  You wanted to use this broom to sweep the porch?  Well, we were trying to help, and it didn't really work out so well." #whenwillilearn #theycantbetrusted 

"You know that loveseat that you put outside for us to sleep on?  We can still use it.  What's the problem?" #yestheyateacouch #yeswethrewitoutwhenwemoved

"And that blanket I ripped to shreds?  There's still a portion of it for me to sit on." #youdontfit #ilikebigmuttsandicannotlie #sillysally

Confession:  They've been given dog beds, blankets, pillows, and rugs...and eaten everyone of them...but I still feel guilty that they don't have something warm and cozy to sleep on. #petparentproblems

"I know you gave me this boring old rope toy, but it's not nearly as fun as those stuffed toys you used to give us." #rippedthemtoshreds #sadfaceaintgonnagetyouanotherstuffedtoy

Notice, in most of these pictures, they don't have collars.  Why?  They chew them off.  #lastonesdidntlast24hours

Being destructive is exhausting.  #obviously  #duh

A girl needs her rest to destroy things.  #wedontsleepladylike 

"Hey.  Don't look up.  I think our human wants to take our picture again."  #leastphotogenicdogsever

"Sit?  What?  I did sit.  Then, I jumped on my sister's back.  You didn't say to sit still and pose for the picture.  You just said 'sit'.  I did that, and I'm done.  You want pet photos?  I hear those cats that get to hang inside the house all day like their photos taken." #geesh #cantbetrustedinsidethehouse

Confession:  I have about ten times the amount of pictures of our cats compared to our dogs. #ourcatsposeforphotos #ourdogsdontpose

Did you see these pics on my instagram?  My guy has off on Tuesdays (days off for a retail worker/shop owner are not always weekend days).  My days off are Mondays; Neil's are Tuesdays.  We get our chores and errands done and have a little "me" time.  Thank goodness this happened on a Tuesday.  As he went outside to mow the front yard, he finds the Destructive Duo trying to join him.  #destructiveduo #escapeartists #peekaboo

Remember.  They chew through collars.  So, if they got out we'd have a BIG problem on our hands.  #yestheyeatwood #goatdogs #thankstehmeganforthathashtag

Confession:  I feel like a lousy pet mama that they don't have collars and tags for this very reason.  But, I don't like metal choke collars, and they've chewed through multiple pairs of collars.  #iaintmadeofmoney #petparentproblems

Confession:  No matter how many things they destroy, I still love them madly.  I wasn't even mad when I saw these photos of them breaking through the fence.  I thought they looked too damn cute to be mad at them.  #lovemymutts #mixedbreedsrock #sweetsisters

I mean c'mon...I fell in love instantly when I saw these faces....... #whowouldnt #loveatfirstsight #sallylostherspots
The day we brought them home
Linking up with the lovely Alanna and Laura & Lauren.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.44

Yarn Storming in North Sydney in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month

This guy *love*

Another Gwen song for me to sing (out of tune, of course) at the top of my lungs 

My neighbor has magnificent rose bushes

I won! I won! I won the wild card prize from the Literary Ladies Book Challenge. Thanks, Kristen, Kari, and Krystal!

Fine dining it is not, but these kebabs are some tasty goodness.

I tried to take a selfie; Dolly tried to eat my face, crawl in my lap, and do anything but look at the camera.

Happy Weekend to All!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Markus Zusak - author of The Book Thief - entertains a Sydney booklover crowd

No. This isn't a "Friday Favorites", "Blogger Love", or "Ten Things That Made Me Happy" post. Although, it is about a favorite author, books I love, and an event that made me happy. 

Is this the longest post I've ever written?  Maybe.  But, if you're a booklover/bookworm/booknerd then this post may (should) interest you.

Thursday, the 22nd of October, this is what I had to say on facebook:
I rarely have anything planned during the week anymore (I guess I've gotten old); the one night I have something planned, it's raining buckets.
I used to go to bars, clubs, and live music gigs. Now, I'm going to an author's Q&A and book signing. Another sign that I've gotten old? Possibly. I'm comfortable with who I am.
Who was I going to see?  Author Markus Zusak was speaking at the Sydney Jewish Museum.  Not a whole lot of information was given...just that he was speaking, doing a Q&A, and signing books.  Over 1500 people joined the event page on facebook.  The website for the Sydney Jewish Museum listed the event as SOLD OUT.  I had no idea what to expect.  My heart swelled over the story of The Book Thief, and I recently read (and loved) The Messenger as well.  So, I was excited to attend this event.

The event started at 6:30pm, and it was raining pouring in Sydney.  With my feet soaked and feeling like a humid, sweaty mess, I sat in my second row, center seat at 5:55pm.  I looked around and realized I was the 15th person there.  Where were all these people attending the event? 

Oh, they arrived, and the auditorium was packed with ... hmmmm ... I'd guess 700ish people (mostly women) by the time Markus took the podium at 6:49pm.

Markus spoke for about half an hour, took some questions for about 20 minutes or so, then ... for the first time to a public audience,  he read from the new book he is working on for another 10 minutes.

Markus is down-to-earth, charismatic, genuine, funny, humble, truly lovely, and downright adorable.  He is someone you want to be your friend or marry your sister.

The following are some highlights from the stories he told and answers he gave:
  • Born in Sydney, Markus is the youngest of four siblings with two older sisters and an older brother.
  • His mother is from a small town outside of Munich, Germany, and his father is from a town near Vienna, Austria.  They both migrated to Australia in the 1950s.
  • Markus shared family stories including tearing up his mother's gardens, playing sports with his brother, "The Zusak Alarm Clock Incident" of Christmas 1984, discipline via wooden spoons, and more.
  • Through his parents' ability as "great storytellers", he learned some of their experiences before, during, and after WWII; some of those stories become part of The Book Thief.
  • His paternal grandfather was a painter who painted homes and businesses of Jews and was ostracised for having Jewish clients, as well as refusing to join the Nazi party.  **an inspiration for a character in The Book Thief 
  • As a child, his mother witnessed people being herded to Dachau (a concentration camp near Munich and his mother's home).  A neighbor boy rushed to an emaciated man with a piece of bread.  The prisoner was crying tears of thanks.  A German soldier whipped the man for accepting the bread, chased the boy, and whipped him for giving the bread.  **another story that found its way in The Book Thief
  • He acknowledges why he thinks The Book Thief is special: the combination of "the beauty of humans" and "the great terror of humans".
  • Markus considers his family fortunate for there were other German nationals during the war or Austrians under Russian occupation after the war that suffered much harsher fates. 
  • When The Book Thief was gaining attention and success, his father asked how his sales were going in Germany.  Markus answered thinking his sales were "pretty good".  His dad nodded but replied "Ya, good, but it's no J.K. Rowling, is it?"  His dad also told him the book was "so much better in German".  Markus was like "Thanks, Dad.  Good to know the German translators are better storytellers." 
  • The character of Max was inspired during a visit to The Sydney Jewish Museum, in a book he found there about Jews that lived hidden in German citizens' homes.
  • After being asked his favorite character he's written, he replied that there are two:  "The Doorman" (the dog) from The Messenger and Rudy from The Book Thief.
  • I really should have asked him "what's up with The Messenger also being published as I Am the Messenger?" So confusing. 
  • He said that the idea of using "Death" as the narrator for The Book Thief came from a writing exercise he conducted with school children.
  • The idea of a girl stealing books was originally set in modern day Sydney ... he changed the setting and time, and the story just really worked.
  • The last line of The Book Thief "pays homage to" the last line of A River Runs through It.
  • When asked about the film adaptation of The Book Thief, this generated a lot of discussion.  He is grateful, but he admits a whole lot more money is involved in movie-making than book-writing.  He stressed that he thought the five lead characters gave fantastic performances.  He felt the film had a lot of "great intentions" but overall wasn't a "great film".  He advised to work a few scenes differently (as he did not write the screenplay) but his suggestions were knocked down.  One scene in particular, he was very passionate about (and disappointed) how it played out on screen vs. in the book.  (I won't give any spoilers - if you want to know more, we can talk via email.)  When he talked about this, I got goosebumps. 
  • Regarding his new book, he feels like he's almost over-worked it and "killed it", so he is "bringing it back alive". 
  • He admits that he second guesses himself and ignores some of his own good ideas or inspirations...that he battles his own fears and self-doubts.
  • Nothing makes him happier than writing.
  • He loved reading as a child, and as a parent, he can see in his own children that one is innately a reader and the other isn't.
  • His new book is called The Bridge of Clay and is about four brothers.
Here is my one (and only) complaint.  The book signing portion.  I arrived early and got a super duper seat.  But.  The way the room was set up, that meant that I was one of the last to leave the room, of the last in line to get my book signed.  So, I waited for 30 minutes and didn't move a step forward (because those of us at the end of the queue were all kind of crowded in a back hallway).  So, I left.  I decided his words in his books were more important to me than his signature.  And, I'm okay with that.

I don't know if I can ever go to another author's speaking engagement because this one was that good.  I can't imagine any author being more enjoyable of a person to hear personal stories and accounts of growing up and working through the writing process.  

Have you ever attended an author's event like this?  Was it just as wonderful of an experience as mine?