January 31, 2016

SUMMER 2016 || JANUARY... I'VE DONE IT


WHAT a start to the year. So many people I know have had a really, really tough start to the year, and that's the case here too. But there have been good things. Things to savour and look forward to. Even things that can only be described as a leap of faith.

It is a leap year, after all.

In JANUARY:

I WENT TO… Melbourne. I was there for work but went early and took a weekend to see friends and explore. It was just what I needed, a 'not-really-a-holiday' holiday. I spent a day with a friend going through a tough time. We wandered and window shopped. We ate. We knitted. We bitched. We whined. We let it all out. Another friend I hadn't seen for years - so long ago I was meeting her adorable pre-school age son for the first time. We chatted over dinner preparation, walked around her garden and her neighbourhood and late in the evening we bid our farewells with promises not to leave it so long until next time.

I ATE… While I was in Melbourne and whenever I am away from home I like to eat breakfast and make it a big one. Then I'll hunt out a fruit smoothie for lunch, and eat a light dinner. The Huevos Sucios, or Dirty Eggs, breakfast at Archies, in Fitzroy, was capital 'B'-Big with an egg, hash browns, avocado and spicy bits. It's not clean, green, Paleo, sugar-free or anything close to a fad diet. Eat it and enjoy, I say. Closer to where I was staying in the CBD was The Mess Hall. Simple fare with a bench to prop yourself up at and watch people passing in the street. I also stumbled upon the hipster haven Seven Seeds. It was next door to where I was due for a meeting. I dunno. I love flavour and something a bit special for breakfast - it is, after all my favourite meal of the day - but this menu was completely overdone for my taste, as was the price.

Thank you too for all your Melbourne dining suggestions. I found Vegie Bar and will be checking out Gazi on my next trip.

I OP SHOPPED… I've been to Melbourne for many a weekend but never been to Camberwell Markets, despite people telling me I'd love it. They were right. It's a great rummage of a weekend market. I picked up a 1970s corduroy jumpsuit, cute Italian-made leather boots and a fistful of vintage sewing patterns, all for under $50. I also picked out a couple of lush looking chilli plants to gift to that night's dinner hosts. Camberwell Markets, I'll be back.

I MADE… A change. A big change that I hope will lead to more making. I quit my job. Gulp. Yup. I quit my steady pay-packet, uber-professional, UN agency, city-based job. An out-of-the-blue offer was made and it ticked all the boxes for where I am at right now. It's a short-term contract, four days a week, close to home, working with a grass roots NGO dedicated to serving its local community. I've missed working in my local community and with people who are both professional and pragmatic, but also creative and innovative. It's always sad to leave behind work you're proud of and a family of people with whom you share your working day, but my long commutes were starting to take their toll and when the opportunity came knocking, I grabbed it. I leave in a week and can't yet get my head around the extra time I'll have to run, garden, read, volunteer, spend time with family and friends... and make. Watch this space.

I READ… Audio books are pushing me through my reading. I sped, quite literally, through Liane Moriaty's The Husband's Secret. It was a book club recommendation but I guessed the major plot points pretty early on, so doubled the speed at which it was read on my iPod and zoomed through. A bit ho hum, really. Not one to speed through was Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Her writing is stellar, but it's not likely to leave you with much faith in the human race.

#image: With all the changes, my garden has been neglected, but even a neglected garden bears fruit. Tonight's lentil fritters were served with tomatoes and cucumber straight from the garden.

January 26, 2016

THE QUESTIONS I AM ASKING THIS AUSTRALIA DAY


WHERE did you spend Australia Day? Beach? Barbecue? Beer garden? How did you spend it? Perhaps you made a statement and stood with our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Perhaps you were celebrating our newest Australians, or welcoming our newest migrant arrivals - the handful of Syrian refugees that are, right now, making a home under our big, blue, safe skies.

Perhaps you were listening to former army chief David Morrison as he received his Australian of the Year accolade.

I did. I listened to Morrison speak on ABC radio this morning while driving to my stepdaughter’s house to help pack the last of her belongings before she closes a chapter on a broken and regularly violent relationship. The irony of where I was headed on this Australia Day, while I listened to the 2016 Australian of the Year talk of the big shoes he has to fill to follow the work of outgoing awardee and family violence campaigner Rosie Batty, was not lost on me. No.

Rather, I wanted to ask Mr Morrison - a man true to his word, I am sure - how many of the men he served alongside have gone on to respond with aggression and violence in their homes and among their families. Did he know the man who has - through his own poor and inexcusable responses and exacerbated by the service he has done - turned the lives of my family upside down, and, did he know the army was helping make men like him?

Of Ms Batty, is conversation and awareness enough when mainstream services can turn away from the weakest to protect the interests of those with power? I suspect she would tell me, no. If I was to go on and tell her how, this week, a real estate agent made my stepdaughter feel ashamed and embarrassed simply for trying to explain she was in fear of losing her good rental record because her husband – a man previously arrested for causing malicious damage – may destroy the rental home listed in both their names; I fear Ms Batty would simply face me knowingly, and tell me that, yes, this continues to be so.

She may, like so many others, ask whether my step-daughter is safe. And I would answer, I do not know, but today, this Australia Day, she and her one-year-old son are.


:: The women who did not find safety.
:: This happens every two minutes.
:: What Rosie says needs to be done now, yet isn't.

January 10, 2016

FIRST DAY BACK TIPS TO BEAT THE POST-HOLIDAY BLUES


AND just like that we're back. Back to work. Back to commuting. Far from shimmering coves and leafy bush walks.

As I've been back a week and am already interstate ready for two solid days of work meetings on Monday and Tuesday, I thought I'd share how I eased into the first working week of the new year.

1. SORT OUT THE INBOX
I filed and cleared a swag of emails from my inbox before the holidays. If you haven't done it already, make it your 'must-do' of the first day back.

Create a filing or tagging system for your emails. Anything that can't be automatically deleted move into those files, or tag accordingly. If there are items you have been procrastinating over, find a way to get rid of them.

If it's a piece of information you wish to store, find another way, like creating a digital note or index file in an app like Evernote. If you can't handle another online password, go analogue. Duck into a stationery supplies store and buy an indexed notebook and write down your must-keep notes.

2. PLAN A HEALTHY ROUTINE
I don't know about you, but my eating and exercise habits really took a hit at the end of the year. I was tired and stressed and it makes for the worst decisions. Bought lunches, too many coffees, too many sweet treats. Not only was it bad for me, it was costly. I have mentally added up what the weekly spend was - you don't want to know.

First week back I did a healthy shop of foods I could easily carry to work and would look forward to through the day. I added a herbal tea for those times an afternoon caffeine craving might strike so I'd have a better alternative. Though I didn't add a gym routine to the first week back, I have one planned for week two. One thing at a time, right?

3. PLAN SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Post-holiday blues can hit pretty hard in that first week. My partner and I have already been talking about scheduling weekend adventures close to home, but also a bit further afield so we have things to look forward to. They're simple things, like a bush walk somewhere new or a bike ride to a cafe for breakfast, to bigger things like a weekend away camping. They're fun to plan and knowing you've got them in the calendar helps when those workplace niggles start to bite.

4. BOOK TIME OUT WITH A MATE
I messaged a girlfriend I knew was in the city to see whether she had time for lunch during the week. Even though I'd planned a week of healthy lunches, I allowed for a lunch date to socialise and check both brain and body out of the office. When I take a packed lunch I tend to stay in the office and eat it - especially when the weather is wet and windy, like it was in Sydney last week. It means I end up taking calls, talking shop and not getting up and out to stretch the legs. Booking in a lunch date is the perfect circuit breaker.

Each of the above are no brainers and I am sure you have your own versions of getting across your constant to-do lists and ways to maintain your physical and mental health at work. Whatever you do, if tomorrow's your first day back at work this year, or perhaps, like me, your second, I hope you're able to ease your way back in.


January 05, 2016

SUMMER 2016 || PINNING THINGS TAKING IT EASY

I'M back at work this week, but I enjoyed a week of taking it pretty easy. I don't want things to slide from slow to "whoa", so I'm trying to stay organised and keep on top of stuff. January and February are shaping up to be busy months.


THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: I am running a fabric printing course for teen girls later this month. We'll be using cheap and easy techniques that pack a lot of visual punch, and I've been collecting a little inspiration.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: Chilli salt, lime and watermelon. Too easy. 

THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: I've been making new clothes from garments I've cut down. They're simple in shape and design and I've been thinking through different printed and sewn embellishments. Brooklyn-based By Rachel Rose has got it just right.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: Ola Liola's beautiful flowering gum print is sold out but what a gorgeous permanent reminder of the gums coming into bloom right now.

#flashback: It was all about summer colour this time last year.

December 30, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || DECEMBER... I'VE DONE IT


WHILE we've had a few hot days on the coast, it's been a pretty mild summer here thus far. Sadly, others can't say the same. Dangerous fires at one end of the country and dangerous rain and flooding at the other. Those well out of harm's way has more than the usual to be grateful for this Christmas.

In DECEMBER:

I WENT TO… Work and home. Work and home. With so much to do in December, we kept it pretty light and easy and didn't stretch the load, or budget, too much.

I ATE… My weight's worth in Christmas cheer. So. Much. Food. We've all declared dining will be much lighter next year. I saw Bradshaw and Sons Boxing Day tradition posted today and think we might implement that idea too.

I OP SHOPPED… A new dress for work - in the usual '80s tradition I am want to go for.

A second dress: an embroidered muumuu for want of a better description. The fabric is great though. Colourful, Mexican-style embroidery. There's enough fabric in it to make it into something else and I have the scissors and sewing machine out.

And finally, new-to-me shorts and a couple of sewing patterns, one of which I'll try out on the muumuu.

I MADE… Actually, I unraveled the knitting I started last month. I kept the pattern going and went to check the instructions only to find I'd left the knitting magazine behind in Coolah - some six hours away. Needless to say I liked how the thrifted stash was knitting up, so dug out a new pattern and have the yarn back on the sticks.

I also finished my annual Christmas homemade decorations. I found this idea on Pinterest, made up a pattern and stitched up a storm.

I READ… Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples. This is young adult fiction set in Afghanistan. It tells the tale of a New York woman living in Afghanistan and wife to an Afghani doctor, and the story of a farming family living in an area under the control of the Taliban. It's a sad but honest read of life in Afghanistan, and sadly too many other conflict-riddled countries around the world. Whether a young adult, or just plain old adult, it's worth the read.

#image: A bladder cicada found dead but complete thanks to being out of sight of the garden's butcher bird and magpies.

December 27, 2015

I’VE DONE IT: TOP HOLIDAY READS FROM MY 2015 LIST

DO you ever think about how many thousands of words you’ve written in emails, text message, blog posts, comment replies over the years? Or how many you’ve read? I’ve written and read a library of words this year, but only cracked a dozen or so spines of actual books.

The remainder of my reading has, in the main, been emails and reports. So many reports. So many emails. In fact, I spent hours of last week cataloguing emails and replies. But, now, I have a week off with no plans and many, many books.

If you’ve managed to carve out time for holiday reading, here’s my suggestions from this year's reading list.

1 / 2 / 3

4 / 5 / 6

7 / 8 / 9

10 / 11 / 12

Happy holidays, and happy reading.

:: Brain Picking's best children's books of 2015
:: Top booksellers pick their best reads of the year
:: ABC Radio National presenters choose their summer holiday reads


December 21, 2015

IF VINTAGE CHRISTMAS TREE DECOR COULD TALK

THERE are op shop finds, garage sale find and car boot finds... and then there are finds like these vintage Christmas tree decorations and gift trimmings. For a mere handful of loose change, they came home with me.

I think these are Russian-made moulded tin ornaments. If you know more, do say. 

The mushroom was glass, and I think the Middle Eastern looking vase is too, though how those fine handles have survived the decades, I do not know. All the pieces came wrapped in old Christmas paper napkins, which I of course smoothed out and kept the best of.

I have vague recollections of boxes like these in my mother's own collection. The colours have worn off most of the baubles, but they still sparkle in the box.


Australian made "Gay Gift Tye" and "Glam Gift Tape", most of it as good as new and used on this year's wrapped gifts. The gift toppers are Japanese made, backed with stiff old florist wire and printed paper labels.

I hope they're all decorations that have been hung and loved through the years. Gosh, what stories could they tell? 

December 14, 2015

SUMMER 2015 || PINNING THINGS F#&* IT'S CHRISTMAS

OKAY. Nobody panic. We might be days away from Santa and his elves noticing that things are not peaceful, full of joy or even merry, but we can salvage this. We can. No, seriously. We got this.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || make and do and cook and eat for christmas

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO: No tree? What? Are you seriously that disorganised? Forget it. Make yourself some giant snowflakes. Even better make them out of recycled newspaper and tell people you're making a statement about climate change by refusing to chop down a tree and subtly nudging people to remember the snow-themed anomaly.

THINGS TO COOK AND EAT: Gingerbread is really not that hard. It's not, and not having the fancy cutter to make Gingerbread People (the gender neutral version) is no excuse, especially if you can just roll a tablecloth over it, and, bam, you're done. Brilliant. People will be thinking you've come over all Martha Stewart.

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || drop dough on and hang on the wall for Christmas
THINGS TO DROP DOUGH ON: Elk has you covered - one stop shopping, at least for the adults, and so long as you get it done by Sunday. It delivers and if you add a couple of dollars to your order, you're helping the world's children - see who said you weren't all peace and goodwill at Christmas.

THINGS TO HANG ON THE WALL: I am guessing if you're this disorganised, you probably have done nothing about writing Christmas cards and are feeling a little awkward about those you have received. No worries. Hang them like this, Instagram it and tag your friends with a 'thank you, love the card, yours is in the mail'. Forgiven.

#flashback: Damn it. This time last year I had one Christmas card. This year none. Is it me? 


December 06, 2015

GUIDE FOR AN AUSSIE'S FIRST TIME IN NEW YORK CITY

IT'S TRUE. I was in New York in April and it’s now December, which is an unseemly amount of time to be recounting travel adventures, but bear with me, New York’s been on my mind again.

Why?

For one, it was about this time last year that - after registering for every airline’s email newsletter - that the right deal lobbed and we booked our trip, saving almost half the budgeted cost of the trip on a great flight and hotel deal.

Another reason New York’s been on my mind is because a dear friend and work buddy is about to set off on a career and life adventure, moving to the Big Apple in a week to take up a contract she’s had her eye on for months, and won. She’s the perfect example of fortune favours the bold and much as I’d love to stash travel guides, wooly jumpers and oodles of Cadbury’s chocolate in her luggage I know she has to pack light for this adventure and move everything else into storage. So, my gift to my dear friend, and whoever stumbles across these pages, is this letter chronicling my own fledgling New York experiences.

***

Dear Aimee,

OMG! This is gunna be like walking onto the set of Sesame Street and hoping Big Bird says hello when you eventually do bump into him (because how can you miss him - or her - he’s a BIG bird).

This is my katiecrackernuts introductory guide to New York and because you’ll have so much more time, I expect every hidey hole you uncover to be documented for those of us living vicariously through you. In return I’ll send photos of my garden, small wee grandkidlets (photos, not the actual kidlets) and musings on life by way of regular letters and emails. Deal?

OK. Where to start? Where I always start. Food markets. When I was there - in spring - people were picking over beautiful looking fruit and veg in the street, under awnings, chatting or calling out hellos to people passing by. I dunno, but for a big city it felt small, like people knew each other and knew the street’s routines. I liked that. I loved watching the people. Kids with their nannies, the basketball games in the neighbourhood parks, the people on street benches chatting and catching up. People weren’t always glued to their phones and if they were they were, they were talking into them, not absently looking at them (except for that lady below, but she has ace hair, so we'll let her slide).

GROCERS
Trader Joe’s 
Time Out New York’s guide to the best grocers 

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City streets are full of big people and little gardens

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City gardens are full of places of rest and play

You’re talking about living in Brooklyn too. Two words. Community gardens. Get on that. I awkwardly loitered around a couple of them. There were little pockets of people growing stuff everywhere and, again, in spring, so many tulips and spring blossoms. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden has a weird Japanese Anime weekend. I cracked the shits that day, I’m not too proud to admit. Don’t go that day. I am guessing you will crack the shits too. Go on another day and tell me all about it. I have a collection of the gardens’ botanical guides from the 1970s. They’ve been updated and are still in print. And there’s historic links to botanical science, botanical drawing and awesome women doing awesome stuff. #girlgang

NEW YORK GARDENS
Grow NYC
Gothamist’s guide to the best community gardens in New York City
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Central Park (or Cath's video on the park)

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City galleries and museums are bursting with amazing works of art

You’re gunna dig the art. There is public art everywhere and it’s all dedicated to someone or funded by some generous philanthropic benefactor. I don’t think people there spend a lot of time looking at the squirrels cast into fence posts, or listening to the amazing buskers in the tunnels and undercover walkways of Central Park, but I did. It might be too cold for that kind of thing when you arrive, but you’ll have it to look forward to. While it’s cold though, you can check out the museums. Oh Lord. So much. Too much. You’re lucky, you’ll have time to go back and take it all in. My brain couldn’t handle it. Degas’ bronze dancers, Van Goghs, Gauguins in all their rich glory - so many of my favourites and I’ll bet your favourites too. That bust up yonder there is by Picasso. I know, right. Just there, with Cath swanning about pretending to be all arty in the background. Seriously, why was she just not staring at the Picassos?

ART. LOTS OF ART
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
(Pick up the kid-friendly map. It’s hanging in my kitchen. I love it, and it’s free.)
The Guggenheim 
(Eat here. A quiet, white, calm oasis that looks more expensive than it is.)
American Folk Art Museum 
(Didn’t make it here. You’ll have to go and tell me about it.)

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City's Natural History Museum takes you back in time and around the world

Actually, now that I think about it, Cath has photos of me being all nonchalant around the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History. I wasn’t being nonchalent, I swear, I was thinking back to telltale signs in Jurassic Park, all ready to yell “RUN!”, hide behind a cupboard and control my shaking and breathing. It’s true, dinos are not my thing, but I loved the 1950s and 60s diaoramas (taking photos of the explanatory graphics, of all things) and wanted to live in the Margaret Mead wing. That place is amazing. We planned to spend a whole day there and we could have spent many more. We waltzed in when it opened, all like, ‘we’ll just spend a few hours here’, and had to do a last-minute dash to the gift shop as alarms started to sound to rustle up the stragglers. Don’t skimp on this one. In fact, if you were Cath and living in New York, you'd just take out a membership and go there every weekend. Up to you.

THE MOTHER OF ALL MUSEUMS
American Museum of Natural History 
(It has a Christmas tree of origami animals. Can you take a rare Aimee selfie of yourself in front of it?)

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City's High Line is a destination in itself

You’ll probably miss coffee. You think you’re not going to, but you will. I hadn’t had a decent coffee through the long flight and for the first day we were in the city - probably three days all up - so first chance of someone offering me a coffee I said yes. Wrong. Say no. You’ll be in a diner, all confused and jet lagged, and a man with an apron, notebook and super fast manner will have just steered you to a booth and sat you down. He’ll say “cor-fay”. You’ll be desperate, but now that I’ve warned you, you will say no. Ask for an orange juice. Say it like this: “Aww-raan-jh”. If you don’t, the coffee will be drip filter and taste like the worst version of Mocconna you’ve ever had. Now, you’ll also need to know how to order breakfast. A diner will take whatever order you have at any time of the day, but be specific. If you want poached eggs on your toast, ask for this: “two slices of toast, uncut, buttered, with a poached egg placed on each piece of toast, with salt and pepper on the side”. Actually, I can’t even guarantee that will do it, but don’t assume that what you order is what you’ll get, unless you’re very specific. I started eavesdropping on people’s orders to get a feel for what people ate and people would order salads like they were offering up project briefs for photographic flat lays. And, it was all written down, and it arrived just as they asked. Listen and learn.

So, because you’re going to miss coffee, and probably avocado on toast, my go-to became the European-style cafes. I know, defeats the purpose, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Also, walk into cafes and make sure they have an espresso machine. Leave if they don’t. No. Seriously. Leave. I actually became quite good at sniffing out coffee. There comes a point, early in your stay, where you can smell it a block away.

Street food like quesadillas, enchiladas, and burritos are good. I was partial to the kebab stands. Falafels were delicious and cheap and chock full of salad. Again, unlikely fare for winter, but keep an eye out come spring. I also liked the street food because you didn’t have to wait to be seated and you could eat at any time. Andrea will guide you on the whole whacky ‘when to eat’ thing, but I couldn’t stick to it. My body was all out of whack that visit. Sleep and eating times were all over the shop.

Beer was also good - again, at any time. I like dark beers and there was nary a raised eyebrow if I ordered a porter - and they were delicious. Craft beers. Get on that too. There are plenty.

Oh, and Shake Shack. There's always Shake Shack.

FOOD FOR WHEN YOU'RE NO LONGER SURE
Utopia diner 
(This was Cath’s and my regular hang, mostly to hear the wait staff say “cor-fay” and watch what people ate.)
Kebab stands 
Le Pain Quotidien 
(It’s an international chain - there’s one in Westfield Sydney - but reliable coffee, avocado on toast, le sigh.)
Aussies doing coffee in New York
Amsterdam Ale House 
(There are drillions of places to drink beer, and drillions of beers, but this was near our hotel and suited us just fine. Think Cheers.) 
Shake Shack

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City buildings are skinny and tall

The subway is easy to use, buses too, and absolutely anytime I was stuck, I’d just ask the people around me and would be immediately set on the right path with friendly reminders that the next stop was ours, and, “have a nice day”. That said, we walked most places. We might grab a train to be nearer our destination, but walking was our go-to mode of transport. I’m guessing though that you’ll have to rely on trains and taxis through the dead of winter. I also found it easier to get my bearings by walking and was able to observe more easily how things worked: like which taxis to hail and how best to do it and in what part of the street, and where to find subway entrances for the direction you want to go in. I was busting to try the blue tourist and commuter bikes, it seemed an easy city to bike around too, but best get some insider advice on that. Of course, the Highline is made for walking and you’ll be lucky enough to see it with each new turn of season.

SEEING THE CITY ON FOOT
citibike 
Walking tours 
(Our hotel offered free walking tours, which didn’t seem restricted to guests, just to numbers.) 
The Highline  
(You can adopt a juniper for Christmas. Don’t they make gin out of juniper berries? You can adopt a gin tree. Hells yes!)

And just in case you miss us, you can watch Cath’s adorable video about walking in New York, featuring selfies we took (note the comment about dumb tourists below.)




katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City tourist attractions are well worth the hype and wait

City attractions are definitely worth it, even tough you’ll feel like a dumb tourist. Let’s face it, I was a dumb tourist. The thing I learned early was to book ahead. If you want to be at the top of the rock at sunset, book it in the morning. If you want to ice skate at the Rockefella Centre or in Central Park, you’ll probably have to book in advance or line up. Both rinks closed on the days we visited but they’ll be beautiful for you.

ICE SKATING IN NEW YORK
Rockefeller Centre ice skating rink (It looks so pretty for winter).
Ice skating in Central Park 

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City has visions of beauty around every corner
katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City has places to climb and rivers to cross
I was pretty chuffed with just walking around the main attractions. I wasn’t expecting the Art Deco design and architecture to be so intact, but it is and those signature buildings like the Chrysler and Empire State are magnificent. Even the not-so-fancy caught my eye. The Brownstones in Brooklyn, the water tanks (again in Brooklyn), the entrances to the subways and the subway tiling and art. I loved being on the East River too. It was a recommendation of Andrea’s and probably my unexpected favourite part of the week. She’s got the best tips. The city skyline is magnificent from the water and you can’t help but look at that Statue of Liberty and all it stood for, and hear the migrant history and wonder at how we became such an unkind and cold world. I was deeply touched by it. The Statue of Liberty, the hope and excesses of Wall St and then this pinpoint moment that is the World Trade Center memorial park. More so, I was touched by the many, many, many memorials to firefighters and servicemen and women. Such pride, but also a strange reminder of what the western world fears. I found them both beautiful and grotesque.

PURE TOURIST
World Trade Center Memorial and Museum
Circle Line cruises
Statue of Liberty

katiecrackernuts.blogspot.com || New York City has places to meet friends outdoors and be alone indoors

It’s the people I found the most fascinating. I could have sat and watched the people all day. People walking their dogs (so many dogs in New York City, I was surprised). The interactions between children and their nannies at the start of the day, and then children and their peers or parents at the end of the day. Again, so many children. You realise how few children you see in Sydney once you’ve spent a day or two in New York. Aussie families push out to the ‘burbs, but here, there’s a grand mix. I loved hearing from a woman, who lived near where we were staying and we met on a tour of Harlem, about her impressions of this constantly evolving city. We asked people in the street to explain the real estate: fascinating. I eavesdropped on the diners. I people-watched on the subway. We went to Matilda on Broadway and watched to see if Americans got the dry Aussie humour (they didn’t really). I loved quizzing Andrea about her three years in the city, and taking notes about the books she’d read to understand the city better.

You’re gunna love it. I mean, really love it.

Safe travels my friend.
Happy adventures.
Merry Christmas and
Congratulations.

Love,
Kate.

PS: A few more links

Bloggers ultimate New York guide
Art lovers guide to the Big Apple
Aussies in NY Facebook page
Australians in NY Facebook group