Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday fun time

I was going over the floors with a mop this morning, and my mind inexplicably flashed to the cartoon maid that mops during the credits of the Carol Burnett Show. And that thought naturally led to memories of this...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Walk in Her Shoes

Those of you who don't know me well might not know that I hold a Master's degree in International Development. I'm particularly passionate about issues for women and girls. As a stay-at-home mom, I want to make more opportunities to honor that passion.

For one particular week next month, I am committed to walking 10,000 steps per day in recognition of all the miles women and children in developing countries must walk each day to gather basic necessities including food, water, and firewood for their families. The time and energy they spend walking is not spent on income-earning, education or attentiveness to their own health. The distances they cover often expose them to violence and danger. CARE is an international non-profit organization hosting the Walk in Her Shoes event. Money raised will directly fund initiatives to positively impact women and children. Will you help?

If you'd like to donate, my fundraising page is here.
If you'd like to register to walk yourself or as a team with friends, the registration page is here.

Small gestures can add up to big changes. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Jetlag, I can live with.
My three year old who thinks she can and should be up because I'm up, that's the real challenge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras!

While the revelry is well underway in New Orleans, I'm back Down Under trying to readjust to "normal" and process the most amazing time I had in that crazy city. A girlfriend here sat down with me for a cuppa and asked me to tell her all about it. I could see her eyes glazing over, as she had no frame of reference with which to understand any of what I was saying. Thinking pictures might help, I showed her a few, and her glazed expression turned to one of shock. She admitted that the best image she'd been able to come up with in her mind was a small parade involving one "float" (which she pictured as a glorified trailer) and me on it with a couple of other women. No wonder she was shocked when I told her I was on float 10 of 26 (on the third parade of the night!), and there are an average of 30 women per float (though mine had over 40).

To my delight, our family friend Grandmary came to witness the goodness firsthand and she shot this video for me (and you!). You'll hear her shouting loud and clear for me, and I'm so glad she did. I never would have spotted her otherwise. Of course, once I throw her some beads, you can hear others take up the call...

Grandmary's spot was downtown, close to the end of a very long parade route. The crowds were thinner (though no less enthusiastic) and most of the Muses had run out of throws. I shot this little video from early on in the parade (on Magazine Street). People often ask me if kids can go to the parades, and the answer is yes, especially in Uptown! They typically perch on Mardi Gras ladders (ladders with seat boxes built onto the top). You'll see those in the video too.

Just in case there is any doubt that the Muses deliver the best Mardi Gras has to offer and the women of my float in particular are exceptionally awesome, the Chicago Tribune ran a little story on Mardi Gras, and look who they featured (can you spot me on the bottom left of the photo?).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Long live Muses

Shoe dat!
We came, we rolled, we ruled!
Muses brought it once again to the people of New Orleans. We show them the love, and they show it right back! The crowds were insanely huge and enthusiastic. What an amazing ride! I can hardly believe I am lucky enough to be a member of this krewe, and the ladies on my float are some truly wonderful women! My experience last night was worth every minute of the travel time it took to get here from Australia.

A few little snippets...

Will Farrell (in the black jacket), King of Bacchus, showed up to wish us a great ride at the pre-party. Apparently, he brought his mama with him to New Orleans and is taking her out on the town most evenings. What a good guy. Next to him (behind the mike in my shot) is Patricia Clarkson, our honorary Muse this year. I didn't see her much, but if she didn't have a blast, I wouldn't know how she might have more fun.

Walking from the pre-party to the floats. I'd already boarded our float 10 (Forever 44 for the New Orleans Saints winning Superbowl 44), thus the high viewpoint.

We started rolling down Magazine St, and from the first instant, the crowds were awesome, filling every space and showing us how much the enjoy the parade!

By the time we got to St. Charles (the widest avenue), the crowds were truly insane. Several women asked if we were somehow riding on Bacchus. The crowds were astounding for what it still a school night/work night. People everywhere, all screaming for more! The noise was deafening at times. My head throbbed with it, but I couldn't stop smiling.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played the after-party. Our float rolled in after she'd been playing for quite a while, but I caught a few of her songs. I didn't realize how many of her songs I knew. She was a great performer and seemed really into the crowd. The energy in the room was fantastic. The venue is surely smaller than she's used to, but the audience gave her all she needed.

And phew, I'm done for this year. As soon as I log off of my free internet here in CC's and finish my big ol' cafe au lait, I too will roll out. There are three more parades tonight, and I need to get out of town before they start to roll (and stop all the traffic).

New Orleans, I love you!
Muses, you are amazing!
Thank you for another truly incredible experience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Laissez les bon temps roulez

That's New Orleans for "Let the good times roll!"

I'm in New Orleans!
Muses rolls tomorrow night, y'all! 6:30pm, starting at the corner of Jefferson (my former home street!) and Magazine. I'm on float 10, on the bottom level at the back on the right hand/sidewalk side. I'll be completely stiffled by Keerthi and all her glorious schtuff, so hold a sign high with my name on it and I'll aim for that!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Mardi Gras season is upon us, and my trip to New Orleans is almost here! If I want to have some signature Muses glitter heels to give away, it's high time I get my shoes done!
I enlisted the help of my very crafty friends, and look at the results:

I'm a glitter purist (no feathers, beads, etc.), so these are very nearly done. All that's left to do is add "Muses" and the year to each shoe.

Glittering shoes is a seriously fun, addictive process, especially when you work with friends (and some mimosas). It makes me want to raid my closet and fancy-up my own shoes.
Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rockingham Wild Dolphin Encounters

Another date on a boat for us today with Rockingham Wild Dolphin Encounters!
See that french-braided head second from the right? That's me, super close to wild dolphins who didn't seem to mind our presence one bit.


Rockingham Wild Encounters takes you out on a big boat. They make it easy, providing wetsuit, snorkel and mask, lunch...they even took these photos for us. When they find dolphins, you get into the water as quickly and quietly as you can (so not to disturb them) and watch. No touching! No feeding. No bothering. Just witnessing these beautiful creatures in their natural space.

We came across several parties of dolphins today (called "parties" rather than "pods" because they kept changing groups depending on their mood and purpose). One group of males were very engaged in "practice mating" (ahem). There were some intense feeders. There were even several females with a small baby dolphin (sweet!).


Here I'm bringing up the rear (almost out of the shot). It was my turn to wear the Shark Shield at the back of the pack. It's a small device strapped to the leg of a diver that emits a mild electric current. It doesn't bother the dolphins who navigate by sonar, but sharks use electrical currents to sense prey so they hate it. That makes me a big fan.

Look at these gorgeous beauties!



I don't know if you have watched (or have the stomach to watch) the documentary "The Cove", but if you do, you will become 100% converted away from the possibility of ever going to Sea World to see captive dolphins. Dolphins in the wild are so amazing, playful, intelligent, and FUN. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy them in their natural environment, I can promise the experience is wondrous.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back to school

The girls went back to school today. In Australia, the school year runs along the calendar year, so they've just been home for several weeks (nearly two months, actually). We had a fantastic school holiday, and I so enjoyed the time with them. Their development synced again this summer, and they played so well together that it was just easy and enjoyable most of the time. Brilliant!

Of course, the girls being back at school can be pretty good too. After I dropped them off this morning, I went for a brisk walk with a girlfriend along the beach. When the heat got too much (which was quickly in the Aussie sun), we took a glorious swim in the Indian Ocean. A spate of shark attacks this summer leaves us both a bit nervous. Sighting fins not too far away wasn't so nice...until we realized we were in the company of three dolphins. What an amazing way to get the day going!