Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm Back!!

(This has been posted on a wall in my neighborhood. Don't know if it is
the work of Chabad or someone else:-)

I know I know, where have I been? Last posting was in October and the whole of November has come and gone without a peep. The world has in fact changed since we last visited with each other (YES WE CAN) and the Australian dollar has plummeted, which is good for wedding dress shopping but no so good for folks from Oz trying to get to the US next September. I appreciate the magnitude of complaints I got from my loyal readers…I’ve been so busy responding to your queries, I haven’t had time to write. Fine, only 2 people have inquired as to what has happened to my blog. I assume the rest of you were just too depressed to even put finger to keypad, given my absence. But here I am, back again. So you got me AND you got Obama…happy holidays indeed!

To be fair, one reason I haven’t written is that in my last post, I promised not to spend the blog talking about wedding planning and that has taken up a little bit of time. But November, even more than being filled with L’chaim and celebrations was filled with the dreaded OSCEs. OSCE stands for: O-something S-something Clinical Exams or something like that. What it means is that in a 3 week period I had over 200 slots to fill with SPs of all shapes and sizes. I had to recruit, get the cases copied and mailed, figure out who was going to which of the 5 different testing sites we had running, make sure everyone’s contract and bank details were sorted and occasionally, on the good days, do some training in order to make the exams run smoothly. While there were plenty of issues in the process which will hopefully be remedied next year- namely the last minute nature of the whole process- I did manage to find all the SPs and they showed up when and where they were supposed to be.

Rather than go back and do a play by play of my life since September (the rest of Brisbane was non-descript anyway, at this point!), I thought I’d focus this blog on some of the culture that we’ve been filling our days with, both before and after our betrothedness (if that’s a word?)

I can start with the good:
Some highlights of the spring include Michael Franti and Spearhead, a great show we went to with Shai, Adi’s youngest brother, and his friends. Stevie Wonder, who is truly a legend and entertained us as a rock star should and provided a great birthday gift- if not a surprise to Adi. And Billy Joel (yes, Sach, you would have loved it;-) who, in spite of his years and alcohol problems, is still “The Entertainer.” Adi is a huge fan of Mr. Joel and had never seen him, so that was really special for him. Thankfully neither of the latter two shows were simply greatest hits shows and they both played deeper tracks from their repertoires as well as the crowd-pleasers.

Ah, but the bad is so much more fun to write about, isn’t it? The Melbourne Fringe Festival way back in October, offered the chance to see a variety of unknown performers, and to discover why they are unknown. We saw a cabaret performance by an angry gay central-Queenslander (I have trouble believing there is any other kind—think rural and backward, but in the outback) who sang a number of songs about being angry and gay in central-Queensland. We saw an improv group perform a musical to Sondheim music, which was mildly funny but marred by the fact that none of them could sing. But the best of the fringe (and by this I mean the absolute worst) had to be “Vlad is Dead”, a one man show by a uni mate of Adi’s who staged a paranoid multi-media inclusive show that seemed to be about being a man without country, as he was born in the former Yugoslavia. In spite of its mildly lucid moments in the middle, it completely lost me when the actor eviscerated a pig constructed out of packaging tape right before wrapping himself up in said packaging tape. The best response we could muster when he came out after the show was stolen from 30 Rock: “great programs”.

Another show with great programs as its highlight was Shai’s end of year dance recital. Having shared our feelings with him, I’m not afraid to put in writing that I’m glad he’s decided to transfer to a social work program. The piece, which emphasized dance for the sake of dance, was performed to traffic noises. And this contemporary piece was the best in the 3 offered that night. Shai, of course, danced to the lack of music better than any of the others, but that didn’t stop his mother from wanting her admission fee back! If Shai is reading this now, I’m certain he is shaking his head and muttering “I knew you guys wouldn’t understand it.”

The Ugly: The closest I can come to finishing the cliché is by sharing that Adi and I have been taking swing dance classes. We’re getting better but this is because there is vast room for improvement. The last few classes have been fairly small, which is good because we rotate partners and when there are too many in the class, I don’t get to spend enough time with Adi. I end up dancing with the guy in the zoot suit who smells of mix of grape chewy and cigarette and has a vague look like he’s about to shoot up a post office.

A few other highlights of the spring: obviously, getting engaged was a big one. We had two of the aforementioned “l'chaim’s” which are informal gatherings to have a toast and celebrate good news. Photos from the one at The Local, a watering hole down the street, are below. The food at the L’Chaim that Adi’s mum threw for us was much better, but I don’t have those pics.

And finally, some photos from a fun girls’ night out- M to the 4th power . A great deal for manicures, makeovers, massages and martinis, that a bunch of us enjoyed a few weeks ago.

Mum and Dad touch down in Sydney in about a week so there will be lots of adventures to share with you…think Australia without Hugh and Nicole and the bombings from the Japanese. Meanwhile, welcome back and have a fabulous holiday season!! xx

L'chaim at the Local:

Me and the 2 friends I made all by myself-Maria and Loretta

Alon, Adi, David, Avi & Daniel

Me, Hanna, Mel, Nat & Sammy

"'M' to the 4th Night":