Thursday, November 30, 2006

Elton And I

It's been awhile. Things have happened, other things have not. For instance, one thing that has happened is that I've spent another weekend hopping from party to party, buying a dress here and a dress there to make sure I am properly attired for aforementioned parties. One thing that hasn't happened is weight loss.

Oh, before I go any further let me update on a couple of items:

1. Marathon training was put on hold back when I started bootcamp and I've not picked it up again. I realised somewhere along the line that I simply am too stressed about losing weight (or not losing it) to even consider being disciplined enough to train for a marathon. I also realised I may not be able to afford a ticket to NZ for the marathon. So...all that being said my current focus is on being healthy, destressing and making the rest of my time in Australia as productive as possible. I still plan to run a marathon, but maybe it will have to be on PEI

2. Hmm..actually I don't think I even have a two..oops. Oh well!

OK, so life continues to be hectic and I can't say I'm complaining cause it's all about the social life, but to a certain degree I am looking forward to getting away from it all and having some peace and quiet in the outback.

On Saturday I went to two parties - one involved a BBQ (Bring Your Own Meat is a big thing here..I brought a salmon steak). The other was a rooftop party - absolutely brilliant - you could see all of Sydney and there was even a DJ - they sure know how to celebrate birthdays here!

But, yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this entry, the highlight of the last little while was definitely seeing Captain Fantastic in concert. Shannon Courtney the male version, had purchased tickets the day they went on sale (I completely forgot until it was too late), but waited until Sunday to inform me that he was inviting me along!!!!!!!!

So there we were down at the ENtertainment CEntre in Darling Harbour, ready for a night of pure musical genius, when Shannon tripped and rolled his ankle. Having already torn every single ligament in that ankle, he was in a lot of pain. Somehow I spotted a St Johns Ambulance dude who had popped out for some razor blades at the local convenience store. We went to the first aid room, got Shanon all iced and bandaged up then plopped him in a wheelchair to be rolled to our seats. Unfortunately, we were sitting wway up in the nosebleeds and Shannon had to maek the last leg of the journey on a very sore ankle.

Once we were settled in, however, we were treated to a brilliant night - no supporting act - Just Elton, his band and his piano. The sets were brilliant, many of his classics sprinkled with some of his newer releases. By the end of hte night, I swear he'd played every hit he ever had..aside from the ones I assume he couldn't play because of movie rights (Lion King soundtrack & Pinball WIzard). Shannon pointed out he also did not sing Sacrifice, but what did I care. He sang my two favorites - Your Song & Tiny Dancer along witha heap of other brilliant Elton songs. TWo and half hours of pure Elton. Could it get any better? Well, maybe for poor Shannon with his injury, but aside from that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

That's all for now - I feel my blogging is becoming quite boring. It's becasue I am always so tired when I finaly get around to writing this. Sorry!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Short & Sweet

I promised myself I'd go to bed early tonight and it's already 10.15, so I have to make this a really short post, so here goes:

Did I mention I am really starting to dislike my job? I could be more specific about the part/person I dislike, but I will attempt to digress. Thank goodness most of the people there are great company, thank goodness for the free gym, and thank goodness it's only 6 more weeks before I fly the Citicoop.

All that being said - Citibank knows how to throw a fabulous Christmas party. Friday night was, bar none, the BEST party I've ever been to. Not sure which of the following took the cake, but all in all it was a 'wicked' night and slighlty queasy morning..

  • the venue decked out in an 'arabian nights' theme
  • the smorgasboard of food at the buffet table
  • the gambling tables manned by professional dealers that were willing to give me starter chips worth $5,000 for absolutely nothing
  • the bumper cars free for all
  • the corn on the cob stand
  • the FABULOUS live band
  • the great company, or
  • the OPEN bar

Went north on Saturday to a little town on the CEntral Coast called Budgewoi. Invited by my friend, Lisa. What a lovely escape from the city. If only I hadn't been mistaken for an EXPECTING mother, it would have been a PERFECT weekend.

Was going to post some pics from the trip but having difficulties- will try next time I get a chance and my head doesn't feel like leadweight

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where's My Canada?

Today was a good day at work, whichover is to say I was not stressed out by overload of work.


This afternoon I got a call from my friend Lisa, asking me if I'd like to go on a roadtrip with her up the Central Coast this weekend in her new car! Um...YES!!!!!! She & I will be heading 2 hours north to a little town calle Budgewoi, which is where her boyfriend's family lives (he isn't coming along on this trip). We'll be stopping along the way for a wee lunch and shopping at a little lakeside town called Toronto.

We'll be taking off early Saturday morning. Hopefully I will not be comatose from a Friday night filled with free food booze and partying Citibank style. It's the Global Consumer Bank Christmas party down in Darling Harbour. I splurged on a cheap dress (when you have v. little money, even a cheap purchase is a splurge). It's really cute and not at all my normal style. First of all, it's YELLOW. (Thee only person I know who regularly has the confidence to wear yellow and pull it off is Jen MacPhail.) It's a strapless piece with an empire waist line and a poufy bottom - remniscent of 50's style dress.I'll have to get pictures - can you tell how excited I am to have a dress? Too many race events where I found myself borrowing skirts and the such.

So, as to the title of this post. Today I had a bit of spare time at work, so decided to do some research into possible opportunities I can take advantage of when I go back to Canada. One thing I was really keen to do was the Youth Internship Program - this is for university graduates that are underemployed or unemployed and seeking an international work experience within their field. The placements are with non-profit organizations and can range from jobs such as economic develpoment officer in Bolivia to Environmental Researcher in Switzerland to Technology Development Officer in Ghana - endless and meaningful opportunities. I

I was SOOO disappointed to find a message on the website stating that the FED GOVT had cut funding to this program because it was identified as a non-core program. I am curious - what defines a CORE program? Is investing in our Canadian forces really more essential to Canada's future than providing opportunities for our university graduates to become competitive, valuable members of an aging workforce? And really, why the need to whittle out all these 'non-core' programs anyways? Canada's budget has been in surplus for the past four years! There are so many programs that have been cut by the Harper government, it genuinely makes my stomach turn. It seems to me the new federal gov't is only looking out for hte interests of a few elite citizens of Canada..oh, and Alberta of course.

So I decided to fill in the feedback form on the Government of Canada website, which, by the way, is quite sickening in and of itself what with its focus on recruiting for the forces and focussing on 'protecting' Canadians freedom. When did we turn into America?!??!

Here's what I wrote - it's not the most amazing prose - I just wanted to get my point across:

As a 20-something Canadian with a university degree and a desire to see and
learn as much about the world as possible while I still can, I departed Canada
shortly following the 2006 election. To say I am disappointed with the
direction that the current federal government is taking with our country would
be an understatement. I've never been passionate about politics until now. I
watch with great sadness as many of the core programs and policies that provide
support to average Canadians and those that need help the most are cut
completely. Literacy, the environment and opportunities for woman and young
people - thesee are apparently not important issues to Harper.

Now when I go to the Canada site, instead of finding a focus on
health care and social programs, I find banners encouraging Canadians to join
our forces, work for the RCMP and move to Alberta to work on the oil fields. Are
these really the only career options that we should be promoting to young
Canadians? What of opportunities to work in our social system as nurses? What of
chances to perform important research for he NRC?

The news items seem to focus on 'security' and 'protection' issues, which I've
never believed to be at the forefront of most Canadians' minds. It seems that
the migration to 'fear creation' is now being implemented - a blueprint from the
American administration I believe.

Program cuts to literacy, youth initiatives, environmental initiatives and many
other areas are not indicative of good financial management, particularly when
Canada has been in budget surplus for at least the last four years. These
actions strike at the very foundation of what makes Canada the country I am
proud to call home. Now I feel as though, when I return to Canada, I will be
returning to a place that is foreign, a place that, in too many of the wrong
ways, resembles the country to our south. Know that you have made at least one
Canadian, and I suspect many more, much less proud to be Canadian and much more
intent on actively getting involved in politics to ensure that this government
does not remain in power long enough to completely destroy the values that our
nation were built on.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

And She's Off ....Soon!

Another week of work, another week of gluttony, sin and stress. I 'almost' quit my job this week. Really, I did NOT come to Australia to find myself burnt out by the demands of a corporate job, ESPECIALLY when they are not paying me nearly enought to be as busy or stressed as I have been the last two weeks. If I wasn't just temping to make some money before I take off in January I would definitely be looking for another day job. But enough whinging about the job

The week was ALL about the horse races. Tuesday marked the biggest sporting event in Australia - the Melbourne Cup. It's actually a holiday in Melbourne, but most of Sydney's white-collar workers could be found in the pubs adn bars around the city from one o'clock onwards. Citi employees were no exception - our entire department headed down to Darling Harbour for a spit-roast lunch, bevies and some canapes. I swear I was only going to have ONE drink - the complimentary one - but somehow found myself being passed drink after drink after drink until I became suspicious that my coworkers had bets on how drunk they could get a Canadian before she did something utterly foolish or embarassing. The Australians will make a wager on ANYTHING.

Anyways, it was a great day, everyone was dressed to the nines again and I made some new work friends. Apparently I also lectured one of the senior managers on his work-life balance(as his wife lives in MElbourne). Oops.

The rest of the week at work was nuts and I sadly missed my half-way there fitness test for Bootcamp. I did, however, manage to sneak in a hardcore workout post-Melbourne Cup celebrations and determined that it is possible to throw a decent punch when one is hungover. Whether it hits its intended target is another story...

Friday at work involved another bloody activity aimed at making all us Cards employees become obscenely overweight. Yes, that's right, we hada bake-off. First up in the team heats was TElesales vs. Finance, which meant I was tasked with baking. And boy did I bake. In the end I went for the always well-recieved Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and went a bit risky witha batch of Peanut Butter fudge (didn't think Vegemite fudge would be all that tasty). Anywyas, our team kicked butt and ended up winning by a mile. THere was too much to sample though. Way too much. And what did we win for our efforts? The chance to bake again in the finals. Yay!

SO obviously by Friday evening I was ready to be carried home in a wheel barrow but opted instead for ONE non-alcoholic beverage with Sara (coworker who just happened to be on the losing team so was drowning her sorrows in alcoholic beverages. Oh who am I kidding? The british don't need a reason to drink!)

Anywyas, one drink turned into three (Diet Coke for me) and next thing you know we're being joined by two guys from work and heading to the Spanish quarter for Tapas and Sangria. Just what my waistline needed.

Saturday was brilliant. I ended up goin to teh Sydney raceway again - dressed to the nines and ready to make $2 bets. Was invited by another gal from work, whose birthday it was . She had a brilllliant group of friends and I had a wonderful afternoon in the sun meeting new people and losing small amounts of month of horses who had nice names, but apparently could not run for shite.

And that about sums up my weekend. Today I got my haircut - always an interesting event, but not tear-inducing this time! Yay!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Monkey Business

Apparently summer is approaching in Australia but you'd never know from the weather we've been having as of late. Today it was rainy, cold and dark. Much like PEI at this time of year.

Life in Sydney post -mountain revealations has been busy and confusing and exhausting. Work is getting busier by the day - I can't complain it makes the days fly by and it's good experience, but I'm not going to hold out for much longer. Come January I am OUTTA HERE!!

Basically my plan is simple -see Australia on the cheap by becoming a Helpxer (oh how i hate my sllooow laptop it' is giving me grief). I'll be leaving behind the citylife and all its sinful tempations (ie shopping, drinking, eating and Woolworths) in favor of the country bumpkin life. Basically I'll be doing manual labour (laugh now ) in exchange for room & board. I am looking forward to it. It will be different than a basic hostel and hurried holiday. Two months of that, then off to Melbourne to make some money pre-return to North America. So yah..just in case you were wondering..not tha you would be, but I guess I am in a sharing mood.. things here in Sydney are normal and weird. NOrmal things include work, friends, flat.NOt normal things include my state of mind, which would explain this crap post. I am soo distracted. Mostly I am distracted by my health and never-ending battle to lose some of the kilos I've put on. Bloody hell, it's frustrating to go to the gym 8 times a week, eat decently and forgo the liquor only to find you've not lost even a gram and, in fact, have gained a kilo. I gave up while in the Blue Mountains and have since been convinced I should see a doctor for reasons I am not going to share on my blog- but which may explain some things. But yah, I am frustrated to the max. I'm also losing interest in bootcamp - it is exhausting me to the point that I don't enjoy it. What I do enjoy thoroughly is kickboxing - oh what a lovely release for frustration and stress. I get to punch and kick a bunch of very fit guys.

My other distraction is a good one, but not something I care to expand on at the moment.

This week marks the biggest sporting event in all of Austrlia - apparently it stops the nation. It's the Melbourne Cup. Horse racing at its finest and most glamourous. My workplace is giving us tickets for a buffet and free liquor while we watch the race in a venue down in Darling Harbour. I guess it's a good thing I'm off the wagon of drinking and eating in moderation...

On Friday we are having a bakeoff at owkr - first up is our team against the Finance team. I will be making a carrot cake and maybe some peanut butter fudge..if Mom sends me the recipe (hint hint).

OK, I don't know if it's my computer or this website, but man it is going slow. Making it difficult ot write this blog post, so I will stop.

First, however, I have to extend birthday wishes to a few friends from around the world : Happy Belated Birthday to Miss Emily of the Burgh of Pitts. Happy Birthdady to Anee of Rocky Mountain House - not quite Green Gables, but close! And last, but certainly not least, Happy Birthday to my ever-aging, always bubbly bud Beth!