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Life is so strange at the moment, with the countdown to New Zealand ticking away, and our house practically empty, and hubby working so many hours. I’m finally able to sleep at nights with the help of my CEO’s extra sleeping bags, and some herbal sleeping pills, which means at least I’m not a raving lunatic during daylight hours anymore – this is a huge relief to my husband, who is the person responsible from talking me down from the rooftop when I enter into crazyville! – and I’m almost used to sitting on a fold out camping chair in the middle of my bare loungeroom like some crazy homeless squatter, and I hardly notice anymore that all my work clothes are crumpled and unprofessional looking from having everything squished into my little backpack.. it’s really quite amazing what you can get used to.

The one thing I’m not used to yet is the fact that I’m spending so much time without my husband. For the past few years we have spent almost every evening together, he cooks dinner for us, which we eat together at the table with some interesting conversation and we go to bed at the same time, read a little, talk a little, fool around a little then sleep. But at the moment he’s working nights and at first it was all “Woohoo! Time alone!” and I would watch movies I’ve already seen (hubby hates that) and eat cupcake mix right from the bowl and take extra long showers and spend too long on the phone with the girls. But the novelty seems to have worn off and now I’m all “Hohum empty house” and I wander around sighing like a malcontent and looking longingly at the empty fold out camping chair next to me as I watch “The Breakfast Club” for the seven hundredth time.

By the time he gets home from work I’m all cozy and asleep so even though I wake up and hug him hello and ask him how his night went, I’m usually asleep before he’s finished telling me about the woes of his day and since our beautiful king sized pillow top bed is in a container half way to New Zealand and we are sleeping on inflatable mattresses we don’t even really have the luxury of spooning the night away to recharge the husband deficit. He wakes up in the morning to drive me to work so we do at least have 10 minutes together in the morning but with so much going to plan before our final flight those minutes are more like business meetings than romantic rendezvous. I remind him that he only has 3 more weeks to organise the wedding name change on his passport before our international flight, and he tells me the times that the real estate agent needs access to the house to show prospective tenants through our walk in wardrobe. I give him a shopping list and remind him of our ever dwindling bank balance and he gives me a bag with his shoes inside, the ones that need the sole fixed before we leave town. Then we kiss goodbye and I climb the stairs to my office to start another – poorly motivated – work day.

I’m lucky enough this week that we’ve managed to have one day off together, a whole 24 hours of bliss.. this Sunday. Until then though, I’ll be the one walking through the empty house all glazed eyed and zombie-ish with a reheated frozen pie in one hand dreaming about the days of gourmet meals and chatter.

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Challenge 6: Dinner for 8  Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to plan a fabulous dinner party. You’ve been given a healthy budget, so don’t scrimp! Guest list – 8 people, dead or alive, real or ficticious. The menu – will this be your very own masterchef moment, or is outsourcing more your style? Is there a theme? What will be the entertainment for the evening? What will you wear? What will you talk about? Don’t forget the wine! Have fun planning, be as creative as you like. If you’re creative, maybe even design the invitation. Make this an event not to be missed! Link back here with the URL of your blog AND the entry by 7.30pm 1st July – Have fun!

This is my second blog this challenge and I have to say, so far I’ve been pretty happy with the challenge content, by now you will all know of my nomad ways, but if there is one thing I love more than travelling it is eating! So the idea of hosting an imaginary dinner party with the guests of my choice thrilled me, especially when I read that my guests didn’t necessarily need to be real! So, first things first, I took a walk over to my bookshelf and plonked down on my beanbag. I stared at my bookshelf for a long time wondering just how I could possibly choose which of my favourite characters to come dinner, in the end I settled on the list below: (NB: Technically I suppose, since it’s ‘dinner for 8’ I should probably be one of the eight but it was hard enough narrowing it down as it was. Hopefully that is acceptable oh powerful judges!)

1. My husband – because he is the chef and without him we’d be eating frozen pizza (well also because I love him lol)
2. Stephen King – partly because I’m such a huge fan but mainly because I would really love to see the way he interacts with the rest of the guests, in particular one of his own characters
3 + 4. Henry & Clare from The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffeneger because theirs was a love story that has always stayed with me and I love the idea of them having the opportunity to spend time together at my party.
5. Roland from the Dark Tower Series – my favourite of all SK books, and also he and SK have already met and it seems fair that SK should know someone at the party since so far there are two other couples.

That’s it for the adults, then we have the kids table (though, for the record I haven’t quite decided if I would like these characters to come as the kids they were in these books or as the adults they are now in my imagination):
6. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird – what a brave and beautiful girl!
7. Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia – another brave and beautiful girl and I think that she and Scout would have been great friends

Choosing by number 8 was the hardest of them all, I spent a long time agonising over whether to invite Jesse from Bridge to Terabitha so I could reunite him with Leslie just for a night, or to invite Jake from The Dark Tower because I would love to see he and Stephen King interact with one another. In the end I chose Jesse.

8. Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia because his heartbreak was my heartbreak when Leslie died and I want to bring them together for the evening.

Now for the meal. At the moment I have a bit of a yum cha fetish and love serving meals over the space of a whole evening, small plates of dumplings and sushi and noodles, tiny bowls of stir fry or itty bitty pies, all matched up with wines for the adults and smoothies for the kids – a homemade degustation menu. 10 courses in total (with some shameless links to my foodie blog):

Vegetarian Mini Calzone
Spicy Tempeh Nori Rolls
Vegan Pad Thai
Pineapple and Quinoa Stirfry
Ginger Scented Vegetable Pot Stickers
Itty Bitty Shepherd’s Pies
Peking Mushrooms with Mandarin Pancakes

And then onto the desserts:

Carrot Cupcakes
Home made double chocolate icecream
Raspberry Brownies

We’ll end up the meal with some coffee and peppermint tea – and of course a hired minibus to come and take our guests home so that they don’t drink and drive after too much wine.

And in the background, playing softly so that our guests aren’t interrupted and are free to talk, an itunes playlist tailor made for the evening including (but not limited to) the following artists:

Ella Fitzgerald
Mat Kearney
Nouvelle Vague
Oren Lavie
Angus & Julie Stone
Tracy Chapman
Joshua Radin
Joni Mitchell
Edith Piaf
Portishead
Iron and Wine
Ani Di Franco

Dress code for the evening is pretty straight forward, we are a jeans and bare feet type of crew so whatever they’re comfortable in is fine, that was the rule at our wedding so I figure it will work here too, besides I’m not sure that Roland would have any fancy clothes and for all we know Henry could be ‘visiting’ from another time and may have to end up wearing my husbands bathrobe, it doesn’t really feel fair to make them feel uncomfortable by dressing up.

Wow, I had so much fun writing this that I was almost disappointed to get home this afternoon and realise that it would just be hubby and I eating vegetarian frittata for dinner!

There is something really wonderful about coming to Melbourne. I find it so empowering to return here year after year. Though I only lived here for 5 years, it feels like home. Right now I’m holed up in my hotel room, a little seedy, with a view of another persons window less than a metre from mine, but just a few steps from degraves street – the hip coffee hub of town – and just a few minutes walk from ‘the clocks’ at Flinders Street Station, the ‘meeting place’ for friends and lovers alike.

Although I lived here for such a short time, those years were so filled with life. My Melbourne years were very much my ‘coming of age’ years and I will always treasure them. Most of my current day friends are friends I met through my first Melbourne job where I was receptionist in an international student accommodation building for 2.5 years. I still have friends all over the world from that job, not to mention that I met my 3 closest friends in those walls (room 519!). Of the 20 guests at my wedding, all but seven of them could be traced back to that job, and the people I met there.. in fact if I had never met them, I wouldn’t have met my husband. How different life would have been without that job.

When I first moved here I was running away from my small town upbringing, I craved the anonymity of a big city, the freedom to discover myself without a whole town watching. I moved here with my friend K and her 3 year old son D. I’ve no idea why they agreed to come with me but I’m so thrilled that they did. We shared a house in the suburbs our first year here, when I wasn’t working nights, or studying at TAFE, I would come home and read bedtime stories to D and he would fall asleep in my arms. But I was working in the city, and studying full time as well and making new friends in town and K was feeling abandoned. When our lease came up for renewal K decided to move in with her folks and so I moved out on my own in Richmond into a tiny flat in a crumbly old building. I loved that flat and it became the scene for many a party over the next few years. What started out as just my little place turned into the crash pad for a cast of thousands, soon there were three of us living there full time (the two gals from 519 and I) and various boyfriends and friends and interstate visitors pulling up a patch of floor whenever they needed to. There was always people, and music, and drinking and love in those four walls. The three of us – three girls, all out of towners and the very best of friends – were inseparable, we did almost everything together, and the times that we weren’t together we would be texting each other frantically about whatever it was we were doing. We were so close that when they went home to Perth for summer holidays, I would go with them, meeting their parents, partying with their school friends. It was heaven.

These days the three of us live in three different states. We see each other once or twice a year if we are lucky, though I still consider them my very best friends. One of us is married with two young daughters, it’s incredible to believe that we were once these three young girls, so lost and trusting and full of life, living at full speed every single day, drunk on freedom and passion and $5 bottles of pink ‘champagne’.

So coming into Melbourne – the skybus trip from the airport to Spencer St station specifically – brings back so much of that for me. Not to mention the years that came after, the early years before my husband was my husband and was just the cute boy I had a crush on, Melbourne was the scene for the first couple of dizzying years of our relationship when we were so desperately in love and lust and totally intoxicated with each other. Our first home together was a high rise apartment with city views which we shared with various people from the big hearted pommie boy stoner turned marathon runner to the crazy but lovable psycho girl and her equally crazy (but remarkably less lovable) boyfriend who would scream at each other in massive arguements long into the night. The parties we had there, with countless people smoking and drinking on our ginormous balcony – almost as big as and running for the entire length of the apartment, New Years parties, Australia Day parties, Orphan Christmasses for the people we knew whos families were a world away, or not worth visiting; Birthday parties and farewell parties and ‘oh look, I got a great deal on ecstacy’ parties.

My life here was always so varied and interesting, from drinking competitions with the USA frat boys to dancing up a storm in a dark and smoky goth club, my Melbourne years shaped me in a way that no other phase of my life has to date and I think that no matter where I go, no matter how many cities I live in or countries I move to, I will always think of Melbourne as my true home.

And what better place to do number 12 on my list “take a trip by myself”. I have left hubby at home for this little holiday, choosing to explore the Melbourne of my past without him. I’m here to eat at my favourite restaurants, meet with old friends, and wander the streets and I reminisce about my history here. It feels good to be here on my own, free to do as I please, and free too, to miss him a little as I go about my day, I think that’s so important in a marriage, to long for each other a little, it makes going home to him something to be treasure just a little bit more.

I saw this meme over at Carly_Grace’s blog today and thought I’d give it a go.. with 26 minutes left at work today it seems like the perfect thing to fill out my afternoon.

8 Things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Spending the weekend in Melbourne
  2. Moving to New Zealand
  3. New Moon *blush* (how embarrassing!)
  4. Seeing my husband
  5. Meeting Ben
  6. Having friends visit our new house
  7. Having a baby
  8. Working through my 101/1001 Day Zero Project list

8 Things I wish I could do:

  1. Travel to every country
  2. Win lotto
  3. Change the world
  4. Get a puppy
  5. See my friends more often
  6. Make everyone happy
  7. Get a BFP
  8. Write a really great novel

8 Things I love:

  1. My husband
  2. My friends
  3. My family
  4. Freedom
  5. Adventures
  6. Chocolate
  7. Learning
  8. Being an activist

8 Things I did Yesterday:

  1. Had an afternoon nap
  2. Bleached a few of my dreadlocks
  3. Procrastinated
  4. Tweeted
  5. Watched ‘Before Sunrise’ (love that movie)
  6. Had lunch with my little sister
  7. Bought some erotic fiction from book depository
  8. Looked at a friend’s photos of the Ferret races on the weekend

8 Shows I watch:

  1. Mythbusters
  2. Serial Killer Sunday
  3. Pushing Daisies
  4. Grey’s Anatomy
  5. The Gruen Transfer
  6. The L Word
  7. True Blood
  8. Media Watch

8 People I tag:

everyone who reads my blog (that probably isn’t even 8 people haha)