The Goldfinch

It’s refreshing to read a book narrated by a not-in-any-way-heroic person. Potter is real. He has faults and he makes mistakes. I didn’t know what I was stepping into when I picked up Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, but I’m glad I took the recommendation.

The Goldfinch is a book to take your time with. Do not, do not rush. It deserves the time it takes to read nearly 800 pages. The highs and lows and humanity of it all won’t disappoint.

At times, I found myself reflecting on the similar themes of Kerouac’s American classic On the Road: drugs, travel, truth and hunting for it, art, and the temporary status of life.

And to top it off, the writing is remarkable. There are sentences, illustrations, and moments throughout that I found myself re-reading for the beauty of the words.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

Business hours, burgers, and bush fires

13 November

Today I’m thankful that my job is just a job. I’m incredibly fortunate that I love what I do. Some days are terrible. I know there will always be some terrible days. I’m glad though that I can leave my work at work. The 9-5 day isn’t for everyone and it may not always be for me either, but now, today, I’m glad that I can leave my work life there at 5pm until I’m ready to meet it again the next morning.

14 November

Tonight I went to a lovely wine tasting with two of my very best friends, then met our fellas at an awesome burger joint later that night. The wine was nice, but the burgers. Oh man. Tonight I’m thankful for beautiful beef.

15 November

It’s been raining, no, not constantly, but it feels like it, for days. And days and days. God knows we need it because of the horrible bush fires we keep having, but I really wouldn’t mind more than an hour or two of sunshine! And for that, I’m so thankful for my warm, safe home. Even more so having watching the news of those struggling with the aftermath of Haiyan in the Philippines. There are lots of organisations sending support. It’s not too late to help. Medecins sans Frontieres is just one of the charities helping. Please, give, if you can.

16 November

Today I’m wonderfully thankful for my sister and how close we are. It wasn’t always that way. As soon as we were living 12 hours apart, we realised how much we needed each other. I think it’s that way for a lot of siblings. Once you finish high school, move away from your home town and don’t have them next to you, things are different. No matter how much we talk or skype, which is fairly often, I miss her everyday. 

 30 Days of Thankful? Read on. It’s good for you :)

30 days of still thankful

9 November

Today I’m thankful for coffee, espresso, and iced lattes. And yes, I had all three of those in one day. I don’t have a problem with caffeine. I have a problem without caffeine.

10 November

I’m so thankful for the arrival of one of my very best friends arriving in Sydney tomorrow, Monday. For two glorious weeks, she and another best friend and I will get into all the havoc we did in uni/college all over again. I’m so excited to share these moments with these two incredible women.

I’m also thankful for these incredible muffins (mine are strawberry with dark chocolate chips!) and the recipes I’ve gleaned from this lovely baking wiz. I would love to own her cook book.

11 November

Tonight I’m reminded how thankful I am for my kitchen. I’m not a stress eater, but I am a stress cooker, if that exists. I wasn’t stressed tonight, but I did make some awesome burritos for our dinner. I love cooking and baking. And I love feeding and taking care of my loved ones. Last year was my first Thanksgiving away from my immediate family. In the past, no matter where in the US, I lived, I always made it back to Boston for Thanksgiving. Last year, for the first time, I hosted the holiday myself for friends here. It was beautiful, and sad, and I’m glad I did it. We’ve created a tradition of our own.

12 November

I took today off from work to visit with one of my very favourite people while she’s in town. Despite her jet lag and feeling a tad under the weather, nothing’s changed between us and I’m so thankful to have her here. I’m thrilled to have her here sick or healthy; it doesn’t matter to me. I just appreciate the time.

 

 30 Days of Thankful? Read on. It’s good for you :)

30 days of thankful

1 November

Tonight I’m thankful for starting November surrounded by some of my very best friends. Pizza and movies — a simple night made perfect by closeness, friendship, and understanding.

2 November

Thankful for my partner in crime who loves me for all of my qualities–lovely, annoying, and quirky. Thanks for the sparkling clean house I came home to today.

3 November

Thankful for my immediate and my second family. I would be in a much worse place without you all.

4 November

Thankful for the freedom to bitch and vent when I’ve had a trying day. Thankful for the friend who listened. And, thankful for good rum.

5 November

Thankful for my weekly chats with my mother and sister overseas. Despite the time difference and the obvious miles, you’re still with me all the time.

6 November

Thankful to have grown up in the state that was the first to legalise same-sex marriage in the US. Today Illinois followed suit. It’s about damn time that the rest of the country wakes the hell up. All love is equal. And it’s worth noting that I’m glad to have grown up in a community where it was acceptable to question the way things were done and change them if you could.

7 November

Thankful for having one of my very best friends living here in Sydney with me. It blows my mind that we’ve known each other for seven years already and that we’ve lived in both Columbus and overseas together. What a wonderful sister.

8 November 

Thankful for a workplace that sponsors me to be live in Australia. I love traveling and they’re a huge reason that I’m not “traveling” but really living here. It’s a beautiful thing.

*Curious about 30 Days of Thankful? Read on. It’s good for you 🙂

Satisfied

What a full week it’s been.

In the last seven days, I have had three photo gigs (four if you go back eight days!). I’ve started planning my Thanksgiving party. I’ve started planning my next international trip. I ran my first 5km. I had one horrible day, but the rest make up for it. Definitely.

How did the photo gigs come about? Well I had a phone call from a woman I met in March of last year. I did some volunteering at a local gallery and met a handful of artists. She called to see if I wanted to photograph some youth art classes run at the gallery. I was thrilled and accepted right away.

The third gig was a simple session with my CEO, taking care of his headshots/portraits.

Also this month, I’ve finished a few excellent books. I wrote about one of them earlier in the month (plus lots of other things you’ll want to see!) so head over here, stat. What didn’t I write about? How I’ve been back in Australia a month since our trip and I’m already jealous that I’m missing the Autumn foliage I grew up with. I was on the phone with my cousin the other day and he was describing how fast the leaves are changing and starting to fall. Winter will come early in New England this year, they’re saying. It’s not the snow I miss about New England but the vast changes from one season to the next though. We went skiing a few weeks ago and it was incredible to touch the snow after not seeing it for a few winters. Yes, I had a few bruises to show for my first ski trip, but it was all worth it. We had a great time. Just as exciting: there’s a good chance I’ll get a glimpse at some Boston snow next year!

Lastly, if you read anything on my website from September, make it this post called “Charitable Giving Just Gave Back”. I won’t spoil the surprise–go look for yourself.

It’s been a busy, satisfying week. This weekend will be filled with wine, editing, friends and family, and a bit of renovation. Plus a day off on Monday. Couldn’t get much better!

Above is an image from one of my shoots on Thursday. It was taken in a youth art class at Pine Street Gallery in Surry Hills.

A beautiful outlook

Two photo gigs in the last week thanks to a wonderful contact I made at a local gallery.

I’m planning my favourite holiday party already–Thanksgiving is coming!

Some international travel is coming down the pike too.

I ran my first 5km tonight.

Great week?

Yes.

 

A Foray into Maine

Growing up in New England, it’s customary to spend your holiday time in a few particular places: Maine, Cape Cod, Vermont, etc. It’s a local custom. In a recent holiday to the US, we did just that! Here are a few photos from the teeny town where we stayed: Edgecomb, Maine.

More to come.

 

Edgecomb, Maine

 

 

 

An Aging Bridge

I won’t exaggerate. I love Vermont.

You can find these falls in Rutland, hidden under an aging bridge. If you’re going, wear walking shoes. Trust me. The paths aren’t tricky but the footing nearer the falls can be, especially if it’s rained recently. Also be sure to chat with a local about the train schedule before heading that way because they’re incredibly loud and you’ll feel the ground shaking from blocks away.  All of that aside, the view is worth the walk.Rutland Falls

Rutland Falls

Rutland Falls

Legend Tells Us

I mentioned a few posts back that we spent a gorgeous (but chilly!) long weekend in Mudgee recently. This pit stop of sorts was one of the best pieces of the entire weekend. You’ll see why.These rock formations are known as the Three Sisters. You can learn more about their background here.Aboriginal legend says that the three ancient formations were three sisters turned to stone by a magic doctor of some kind. He wanted to protect them from harm and so temporarily transformed them from women to stone but was killed before he could change them back.

Legend aside, the view was spectacular.