01 02 03 Kangaroo Spotting: June 2015 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 25 26 27 28 29

Kangaroo Spotting

30 31 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 37 38 Kangaroo Spotting: June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

One + Four = Life: Homeward

I’ve been in my hometown for two weeks now and have settled in while trying to balance the overwhelming urge to see everyone and do everything possible while resting enough to stay upright.

It’s hard fighting the panic that shouts “this is the last time you will see so-and-so for another year,” and makes me buy all the American things because they are so much cheaper than in Australia. “Of course you need seven mascaras! They are a third of the cost!”

Every once in a while I have to remind myself to stop, if my body doesn’t remind me first by getting sick or falling asleep at 8:00PM. One of the main things that makes me focus are seeing people who are important to me, like my brother.

My bro and I have not lived in the same city in over a decade but I always miss him. We tortured one another growing up but he’s been along for the ride with me longer than anyone.

For the first time in years we are both at home, without our respective spouses so naturally we decided to do something a little whimsical.

One: Brother Sister Matching Tattoos

My brother and I grew up watching The Goonies. Putting on a VHS flick was one guaranteed way we would get along for at least 90 minutes. So in the spirit of pirates and One-Eyed-Willy we have gotten matching SailorJerry clipper ships. And taking from the classic SJ flash the word 'Homeward' in the banner underneath. To Eric and I, it represents our relationship because even though we are separated, we will always make our way home to one another, even if only figuratively.

Two: The Kooks Are Out

I started listening to The Kooks when I lived in Amsterdam, my favorite city, their album Inside In The Inside Out will always remind me of one of the best times in my life. It’s poetic that I took along Michelle who was my colleague, flat mate and best friend in Amster. I had tickets to see the band twice before to no avail. The first time, I was pregnant and mixed up the dates (damn baby brain!) the second time we had an overnight wedding and had to sell our tickets (the wedding was wonderful and worth it!) When I FINALLY saw The Kooks at The Rapids Theater in Niagara Falls, USA I stood two rows away from the stage and rock out like I was one of the other 18 year olds in the venue. Totally worth the wait.

Three: Backyard Beauty

I didn’t grow up in the house my Mother and Stepfather share but it reminds me of my childhood home, especially how the backyard buttresses the woods behind it. Watching my daughter run around in the golden light of the summer evenings fills my heart with a mixture of joy and melancholy. We have escaped the middle of a Melbourne Winter but also left behind my husband, her Dad. And then I start thinking about how she won’t ever have the same memories growing up as I did. Perhaps I should brush up on my memory and my storytelling.

Four: A Caffeine-Fueled Painting Afternoon

I’m incredibly lucky that my mother is an interior designer and she wants to populate some of her projects with my artwork. Whoa!! All of the sudden I’m a commissioned artist!!?! I worried that I’m not “professional” enough to sell my work. My husband said to me “What makes any artist a professional? You studied art, you make art, and people want to pay you for it.” He has a point.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Be Sweet To Your Feet: Scholl's Product Review

{My mates at Scholl's Australia sent me some products to review- opinions are my own}

My best friend made up the game ‘whose feet hurt the most?’ when we were sitting curbside at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. From our vantage point all we could see were girls hobbling and tottering around on heels, stilettos and all kinds of uncomfortable footwear.

We laughed and laughed while we sipped champagne and called out; “Hers do! No definitely hers! No way- her feet hurt the most!"

We weren’t making fun of their outfits or criticizing their body shapes but it did have a tinge of wrongness attached to it. It felt as if like we were witnessing everything that is wrong with equality. There were no men limping around in their shoes.

And look, I get it. It’s expensive to dress for the races from head to toe and something’s gotta give, we can’t all afford Jimmy Choos. But what if there was an inexpensive measure you could take to ease the pain and prevent blisters at the same time? 

I’m not speaking for the girls who walk around and look like they are going to break an ankle (that's a lifestyle choice) but for those of us who try and look fashionable and sensible but still have to bear breaking-in our pumps (and may have to deal with icky cracked heels, and dry skin on feet.)

Scholls Australia have a few products that can ease our suffering because it’s not as if we are about to toss away our investments in uncomfortable footwear.

They have a line of products appropriately called ‘Party Feet.’ My feet don’t party often these days now that I have a daughter but when I do- I want to be as comfortable as possible. Maybe that sounds old and cranky but it’s better than walking around like Frankenstein. Hashtag- old enough to know better!

Here are a few they sent me to test out:

Gel Inserts- I asked for these specifically.  I’m an active person (most of the time) and when I’m out, I am the opposite of a wall flower. I can’t wait to try these bad boys out because they look and feel like velvet on the top side (so would be lovely to wear with or without tights) and have sturdy gel goodness on the bottom- extra cushioning on the pads of the feet and heels where fellow champagne-infused dancers need it.

Heel Shields- I’m hoping these heel shields will allow me to wear shoes that rub me the wrong way (tee hee I love puns.)  These are going to be a staple in my purse because you never know when you might need them- blisters be gone!

Fresh Step- I’m assuming you can spray this deodorizer/ sanitizer in your party shoes before you go out but I have a feeling this product will be the perfect thing to spray into my UGG’s which I will don immediately upon returning home from any event. I already tried this product out on my furry little buddies and though it smells a bit like a lemony cleaning product (What can you expect? It’s for sweaty feet) it got the job done.

I can’t wait to get invited to something fancy again so I can rock out with comfy tootsies. Babysitting anyone? Anyone?

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Glass Animals Concert Review

Do yourself a favor and listen to this band right now- no matter what your mood is.

Glass Animals are a fairly new band from the UK with a really funky, sultry, ambient-yet-upbeat sound.

Their album Zaba is one that you can listen to the whole way through, over and over again (I'm guilty.) The tracks sound so smooth that I wondered if they were overproduced and if it would result in a poor live performance. Hot damn was I wrong! These kids are not only talented but they actually played all instruments live and sounded brilliant.

It's hard to believe how young they are (my friends and I were definitely on the older curve of the median age group at the show) because they just sound so profesh. The lead singer has a voice like peanut butter and he slathered it onto the enthusiastic crowd with raw emotion.

The show was just ace. I would totally go see it again.

And bonus, this was the first time I got to see a concert at Babeville- a church converted into a venue by Buffalo's own Ani DiFranco. Gorgeous architecture and stunning acoustics. Overall a fantastic experience and the ticket only cost 17.00. Winning.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

A Family's Roots

We spent Friday in my Mom’s hometown of Canastoda, New York- a place on the map only because it is home to the “International Boxing Hall of Fame.” It’s a sleepy town of 4,700 where change is reluctant.

You get a real sense of time and history in that town. I mean, check out this old church by the lake. Incredible. The camera (rather my camera skills) do not do it justice.

We went there to attend the funeral of my Mother’s best friend since childhood (my Aunt by intention.) It’s all terribly surreal and tragic I still can't believe she's gone. I don't think any of us have processed her absence yet.

My Mom had to meet a realtor at my late Grandmother's house. I didn't get to attend my Grandmother's service three months ago so I had to say goodbye twice that day.

The walls of that house hold memories since I was three years old, just one year older than my daughter now. When I saw how she tried to scoot down those basement steps like I did as a kid, I was amazed.  When my cousins she had never met showed up, Lavinia ran to them. I couldn’t believe that my typically standoffish child seemed to recognize her own blood. It was beautiful and astonishing.

One Aunt has kept a little of my late Grandfather’s garden going and we all picked some garlic scapes. It made my heart soar to see my little girl dancing among the rows. Her feet gracing the soil where my Grandfather worked on his masterpiece.

We will never go back to that house and now I will have sun soaked memories of saying goodbye, of seeing love and family, roots and blood, in it’s purest form.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Eagles Have Landed

The holy grail, an empty seat
I must be insane because I just flew with my toddler, and a sinus infection, from one side of the world to the other.

Part of me can’t believe we made it, really I should just be proud of myself….and my Mom who met up with us in LA. That last little leg of the journey is the worst (if you call California to New York 'little') and that extra pair of hands is invaluable.

The Qantas staff member who checked us in at Melbourne was an absolute legend. She pulled us out of line (Lavinia was crying), got us bangin' seats and offered us an airport stroller. Vin and I were fast tracked at security and at the gate for early boarding. We sat in a row with an absolutely LOVELY couple (American gal, Aussie Bloke) and their well behaved 8 month old daughter. And get this…the pot of gold- an open seat next to me that Lavinia could completely take over.

You really can’t ask for more than that when traveling, other than a free upgrade to business class (which actually happened to me the first time I flew to Australia.)

This was all so different from last year. I don't remember being offered any help but maybe I wasn't open to it. I still had that mentality like I should be able to handle parenthood all by myself- good thing I learned that lesson! Maybe people are more freaked out by toddlers (because destruction) or maybe this time around I was much more open to it.

The downsides were intense and plentiful. There were moments when I wanted to cry or when I thought my head would explode from sinus pressure. I wanted to give up but it's kind of hard when you're already in that big tin bird in the sky. Like a jail sentence, we were committed to seeing it out.

Know what else sucks? When your kid is sick, tired, and flipping out, passengers expect you to handle it...or at least act like you are trying when you are actually helpless.

It was a rough ride but in the best possible circumstances. And for that I am grateful- I really am. Lately I am really trying to use negatives as a contrast- making the good things in my life that much brighter.
Jet lag is a drag.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Carrot, Banana, Apple Bread: And it's Oil Free

This photo is not awesome, but the cake totally is.
Guys- by the time you read this I will be on a plane. OMG. I’m freaking out a little, okay a lot, as I type and schedule this post.

Excited, yes, because I can’t wait to see my family and friends. Worried, absolutely, because Lavinia and I have been super sick for the last few days. Bummed, of course, because I’m going to miss my husband real bad.

So while I'm consuming airplane and fast food- do yourself a favor and make this delicious fruity goodness just because you can.

I’m consider myself more of a cook than a baker because I don't like "measurements." I do have to say I'm quite proud because I totally made this recipe up and it rocks. Admittedly I did get some of the dry ingredient proportions from a few recipes I read online. If you want to get a little cray just add some frosting and viola- a healthy cake.

Carrot, Banana, Apple Bread: And it's Oil Free!


  • 1 Cup Flour, white, wholemeal or half and half
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • A few good shakes Nutmeg
  • A few good shakes Cloves
  • 1 Cup Grated Carrots
  • 1 Grated Apple
  • 2 Ripe Mashed Bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Plain or Greek Yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal

Cooking Directions

  1. Right-o. Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
  2. In a mixer or by hand go the eggs, yogurt, bananas, and grated carrot.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients and fold the apple in last (don't ask me why, but that's what I did).
  4. Bake that bad boy in a greased loaf pan for 35 minutes at about 175 C or 350 F (Keep an eye on it and poke in the middle if you're unsure. You could do muffins too!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Place to Rest

In the days following our backyard tree removal I noticed birds flitting around, flying from corner to corner stopping to rest on the fence line. They were confused.
It was more emotional than I thought, the day those trees came down. I slept in that morning while Matt got up with Lavinia. He heard me stirring and came in to break the news that my favorite, the lemon tree, was the first to go. He also had to break the news that my beloved dog, Bella had passed away in the night (she lived with my Mom in The States.)
The following Saturday I read that a friend from my hometown lost his life- he was only a year older than me. And today, another week later I woke to the news that my Mother's best friend of 50 years lost her battle with a quick, ruthless, illness.
My heart broke for those little birds because I could relate. When things are suddenly taken from us, we see ghosts where branches used to be. We try to lean against something no stronger than a memory. We think we see our tree for a second but really it's just a phantom.
Loss hurts. It's one of those things made incredibly more complicated by living abroad. I have not yet been able to look at my own backyard and see those empty spaces with my own eyes. So instead I imagine: My dog won't greet me as I walk through the door, I won't bump into Mike if I go out for drinks, Debbie won't be visiting and I won't speak to my Grandmother, who left us in March.
I had a dream this morning where I tried to explain life in Australia to my Mom. I told her that even though I don’t have a youthful memory on every corner, somehow it’s become home.
Buffalo is also my home. the roots I have back there are sturdy and in Australia they are young and flourishing. My home, my life, my family and my heart will forever be in two places.
When I arrive in my hometown next week perhaps I’ll be like one of those birds, flitting around for a while trying to get my bearings without some familiar landmarks.

Rest in peace: Mamie, Bella, Michael and Debbie

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Moving Forward and Travelling Far

As I prepare to fly to my hometown for the first time in over a year, I'm reminded of how far I've come in my battle with post natal depression and anxiety.

This time a year ago I vowed to be more honest with myself and to everyone around me. A vital and important step. No point in keeping up appearances or pretending to be strong.

Don't Label Yourself 

In my second therapy session I asked my psych for a diagnosis. She told me that it is unclear so early on and asked why it mattered. Looking back, I didn't need to know in order to heal. Screw labels. I did not ask her again because I stopped worrying about it.

Based on my experience, if you're unsure whether you're suffering from PND, anxiety or otherwise, just talk to someone anyway. Paying a third party to listen to your troubles is invaluable no matter what you call it. You don't need to come out as 'depressed,' let's leave that to legends like the courageous Caitlyn Jenner. We Mother's can be everyday hero's simply by talking about post natal issues- that way everyone would feel a lot less stigmatized.

So what did I learn?

I learned to trust myself. To venture out into the world again. That sometimes people say things tinged with judgement but it could just be my own interpretation.

I learned to wrangle unhelpful thoughts before they completely derail, taking my mood with them. I can focus on the bigger picture and understand how to achieve goals, even if it's one as small as getting through the day.

I learned to become confident in myself as a mother- even though I have no real idea what I'm doing. My cheerful daughter is proof that I am managing to fumble through with enough love and respect to feel positive about the whole experience.

I learned to let go of past hurts, for real, and am working on the second most important mother-daughter relationship in my life- the one I have with my own.
In many ways my last trip to Buffalo was a disaster. It started before we even got off the ground- nerves about the flight, driving myself crazy about what to pack, how to carry everything, if it would negatively affect my baby. I didn't write about it much because I was in survival mode. And you'll never guess what happened...we survived.

This time I'm not even nervous about the journey. I know to expect a level of (toddler sized) difficulty, and if it exceeds those expectations for better or worse we will deal. There is no point worrying about the things we cannot control- yes, I just said that (the control freak that I am.)
My family has experienced loss and heartache since the last time I was on US soil. This trip is bigger than a visit, more than a hello. In many ways it's about saying goodbye, getting the closure, support, and familiarity that only roots can provide. I live everyday without the whole other half of my life around me. I need to go be whole again for a while.

I'm coming for you Buffalo, with my arms and heart wide open.
{If you or someone you know suffers from post natal anxiety or depression please seek help. I can speak for the resources here in Australia and they are outstanding. I can only hope there is something comparable in the USA however its probably locally based and you'll have to do some searching. Let's not forget that Father's can suffer from it as well.}

In Australia
Bupa Parent and Baby Wellbeing Program (This is the program I participated in)
Beyond Blue

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Apple-Pear Sauce with Vanilla and Ginger

This recipe is so simple, it’s redonk. The most annoying part about it is peeling the fruit- if you’re lucky you can sucker someone else into doing it for you, unlike me this time.

We had quite the collection of one-to-two-week old apples and pears in the crisper from our last few veggie boxes. Matt always forgets the fruit is in there and I’m never really like ‘ooh I feel like an apple right now' so there we were.

In my effort to reduce our food waste I decided to throw them all into our crock pot and see what happened. I had a few green and red apples and a some yellow pears. A little montly crew of deciduous fruit.

Once those bad boys are peeled, chop them into cubes and throw them into the slow-cooker.

Pour some water in to cover the fruit about 1/3 of the way.  Add the grated ginger, vanilla, spices and honey (if desired) and slow cook on low so you can enjoy the aroma all day (you can cook on high if you’re short on time.)

Serve warm on it's own or add the sauce to yogurt, muesli or ice cream. Yum!

Apple-Pear Sauce with Vanilla and Ginger

  • 4-5 Apples
  • 3-4 Pears
  • 1 Hunk Ginger Grated
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cloves
  • A Cup or Two Water
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel and dice apples and pears and throw into slow cooker.
  2. Grate the ginger and add to apples.
  3. Cover the fruit about 1/3 of the way with water.
  4. Add spices, vanilla and honey and stir well.
  5. Slow cook on low or high.
  6. Once finished, serve as is or mash with a fork.
  7. Enjoy!