Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Taking a break ...
I'm off home to Australia for a while, so give me a call! The old Gloster Street number is still operational, and my old mobile number should be too. Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Brushes with fame ...

:: Brush number 1.

I was talking to Will's school counsellor yesterday and he mentioned that his brother-in-law was a writer. "Oh," I said, "What's his name?" "Michael Connelly - you might have heard of him ... " "Really? The Michael Connelly? Yes - I've heard of him!"
:: Brush number 2.
See the young chap sitting between Lily and Will in this picture (having dinner at Bondi)?

That's young Trevor Wilson, a great kid and one of Will's best school mates. He is also a guitar prodigy (and Will says he has a great big gravelly voice). One of Trevor's best mates is Lenny Kravitz. In fact, Trev went to New York last year for a week to lay down a few tracks with Lenny. And Trev cracks a mention on Lenny's latest CD cover notes. And on Trevor's 16th birthday, Will was out driving with him (Trev drives an enormous LandRover - can you imagine?) when Lenny rang to wish him happy birthday!
By the way - Will is wearing the suit jacket that Dave wore on our wedding day, 24 years ago. I guess it would be classified as 'vintage' now. Will wears it a lot and he's very fond of it. It looks great on him.

:: Brush number 3. Lily's going out with Nick, a fellow student, and Gerry Garcia was his uncle!

:: Okay - that's more than enough name-dropping.
Will and I have been talking about cars a lot lately. We spend a lot of time doing that, because we are surrounded by them, and some of them are the most beautiful and astonishing cars on the planet. Recently we've been thinking about what car I should get next, as it's been recommended to us that I keep my Ford Freestyle
only until next February, as they depreciate so rapidly that they're just not worth hanging on to. This is my wonderful Freestyle:

It's beautiful, a V6, with leather seats and two extra seats that fold down in the boot. I love it to bits - but I average only 18 mpg and petrol is now over $3 a gallon down here in Southern California. And since I got it last February, I've done over 18,000 miles.
It has been a fabulous car, size-wise, for me to gain confidence on the freeways, and I've felt very safe and sound in it. But if it's wise for me to trade it in, I think I should go smaller and more economical.
Which is why Will and I are talking abut cars. He wants me to get one of THESE (click on the link). And he keeps leaving pics of very expensive-looking BMWs and Mercedes on my desktop, so when I switch on the computer they flash in front of my eyes.
Of course, he's thinking that he'll have his licence soon, so may get to borrow Mum's car occasionally. So his choice of cars for me is coloured by that 17-year-old's logic!
I, meanwhile, would very very happily settle for one of THESE.They are pretty cheap (and a LOT cheaper than Will's choice!), they're a lot of fun, and they'd get me more mpg. Will is not happy - unless, of course, I get the V8 GT version. Can you imagine a smallish car with a V8 engine?

:: I'd get a Prius, the little Toyota hybrid, if only they weren't so damn ugly. I'm sorry that that matters, but it does! They look like nasty little Moreton Bay bugs, and because they are so 'environmentally okay', they are allowed in the carpool lanes on the freeway even when there's only the driver on board (usually you have to have at least two people on board to qualify). And Prius drivers are very often the sort of dickheads who get in the carpool lane (which is also a fast lane because it is protected from the other lanes) and sit on 60 mph, or slightly less. Just because they can.

:: Talking about lanes on the freeway - my what a revhead post this is! - our local bypass has been completed, taking people easily and smoothly from the westbound 56 freeway and on to the southbound I-5, and also on to the 805 which splits from the 5. There are bypasses in both directions, so you can go north on both the 5 and the 805 and take the new bypass on to the eastbound 56. It cost $180 million to do this, and at one point there are now 21 lanes, counting both directions! Truly amazing!

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Moon's a balloon ...

Look what just drifted over our house - gorgeous!

Funnily enough, I just watched 'Enduring Love' on the weekend - a brilliant movie version of a truly brilliant Ian McEwen novel.

There were three of them over our roof, and then I saw another one in the west, on its way ...

:: The Chicago Cubs are for sale - now if we just count our pennies and do really well with the beer this weekend ...

Monday, 2 April 2007

Take a tour!

As I was writing this last post, Lily was e-mailing me a video of her new room - so you can check it out (below)! Will is going to fly to Seattle for his spring break and stay with Lily in her room. They can't wait! The 'king-size' bed is two singles.

Shopping list ...

Things I have to bring back from Australia*:

Rexona (lots)
, Palmolive Gold soap, Milo (two tonnes), Cherry Ripes (hundreds), Panadeine, Nurofen and Nurofen Plus, Bushells Blue Label leaf tea, Madura teabags, barbecue sauce, Barbecue Shapes, plus lots of fabric so I can make myself some fab summer frocks.

* for some of the Bondi staff, friends and family - not all for me!

:: There was a retro thang happening here while Lily was in town for her Spring Break: she's moving into an empty double dorm at college and wanted mt to make her two big floor cushions ouot of denim. Not knowing where I could buy denim, I pulled out a pile of jeans that Will has discarded (he's so tall and they were all too short) and set to with the cutter:

It so reminded me of the '70s, when we used to cut and re-construct old jeans as shorts, or bags, or those skirts with the weird crotch dead centre! Anyway, the result last week was these two fab, soft, denim cushions. All Lily has to do is buy the inserts and sew up the tops ...

:: There's a biker convention on in town and the place is roaring! Everywhere you look there are metallic tangles of the most beautiful bikes from all over the US, corralled into parking pens or in rows along the street, their immaculate paintwork and chrome bits sparkling and shining in the sun.

And the streets are loud with them. Their owners, sans machines, are easy to spot in their uniforms: lots of black T-shirts, leather vests and jackets (with and without long dangly fringes), bandannas, pigtails and ponytails (often grey!). So much fun!

:: A wonderful, wonderful day yesterday - most of it at the Bondi! The sun was shining, the air was warm, everything looked beautiful. Will was busy waiting for the call to help on a music video some friends of his were shooting, so Dave and I took the dogs for a long canyon walk, returning via the local park, and then we headed downtown for lunch. Well! The place was humming!
had all the big folding doors wide open to the street and the porch, and there was a happy, relaxed crowd inside and out, enjoying a cold beer at the bar, sitting out on the sunny porch and having lunch, little groups of girlfriends huddling and giggling ... if it was an indication of what the place will be like when summer well and truly arrives - wow!
riends from LA, Damien and Leah, were there as well so we arranged to join them for dinner. Back up the 5 for a sleepy, sunny Saturday afternoon. Dave had stayed up the night before listening to the disastrous Dockers v Pt Adelaide game online so he had the New Yorker and a nap; I sat out by the pool, tanning my legs, and crocheted a few more granny squares; Will came home and fell asleep on one of the couches downstairs ...

... this pic is actually Will asleep on one of the couches last winter, but that's just how he looks. That night, Will was off again, so David and I smartened up (just a bit) and headed back to the Bondi.
We were 17 for dinner! And the place was absolutely packed.
At our table were Yanni Trianides and his American wife, Shannon, and her brother Bryan. Yanni is a young Melbourne man of Greek descent who lives now in Pasadena. His family own and run the Villa Romana in Lygon Street, and he is still involved in restaurants, so it was fab to get to talk to him.
Our friends from LA are similarly fun and interesting: Damien is Queensland's deputy trade commissioner, and his wife, Leah, is a composer, writes music for film and telly, and is an Australian - American Fulbright Scholar. She is also a voting member of 'the Academy' - as in Oscar! Imagine!
They brought with them several friends of Damien's from his uni days at UNSW and UCLA, plus two Australian doctors, Erica and Andrew. Erica is researching the role stress plays on children's mental behaviour. Andrew is a paediatrician and they both work at hospitals in LA.
With them was Lisa, an Australian forensic psychologist, now working at a research institute in LA, looking at the devastating effects on aid workers of living with trauma and working with victims of trauma.
Such great people, doing such fascinating work - so bright and enthusiastic and appreciative of the experience and opportunities they're enjoying in the US. One of the best things about Bondi is the opportunity it gives us to meet them all.