sarah vs the world

Not a video game, not a comic, not a band, but an amazing adventure continues...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A big event at home and a trip back to Texas

So the summer here in Philly is slowly coming to an end, which always bums me out a bit.  But with the current 90f/32c temps still, it's hard to believe it is truly over yet.  I did manage to get a few fun things in at home and while away.
All of my friends in Rio had their moment this month of course.  And I celebrated along with them with my big housewarming party.  I got a couple of giant TVs for the backyard, organised some pretty decent BBQ catering and invited a few people around as we enjoyed the show.  I didn't want to watch NBC's delayed coverage of the show, so we VPN'd into Canada to watch a live broadcast.  Unfortunately for most my guests, the VPN timed out during the Athletes' Parade, which normally wouldn't bother anyone.  It is usually way too long and boring, but of course, it was just as Team USA arrived.  But luckily for me, I didn't miss my Aussies.  Everyone thought I did it on purpose.  A good time was had by all.  Special appearance by Al Cameron visiting from DC who helped me finish building my outdoor bar unit which Stanley and I began a few weeks prior.  Photos below.
Load/bump in begins
The basic set up
TVs running

Team Australia
The Cauldron Moment
The finished outdoor bar
The food
Newly installed front porch lighting
Post party leftovers - emptying kegs is boring and unfortunately the TVs had to go back
Before the housewarming, I did manage to get a few more things up on the wall...this being one of my favs
I got to have a quick dinner catch up with the lovely Amy Murray in Lancaster.  It was very nice to see her so close by!  Humid night - thus the blur.
I had yet another anniversary of turning 30 which was again not that happy of an event for me.  But luckily, Sara Van Aernum came to town from Houston.  We crammed in a lot.  We had high tea, got our hair done, went to Longwood Gardens for Nightscape (where our hair got ruined in the humidity) and had a lovely brunch.  Good anniversary weekend overall.  
My work bought me this cute cake
 Our very full day
For work, I ended up on another job in Dallas, so of course, I planned to stick around a bit in Texas.  This time I headed to Austin.  Sadly, Ola and Joan were in Sweden, but I did manage to hit a few good places.  Sara came over from Houston. Sadly Bob got caught up in some big problems with new high school schedules, so he couldn't join.  But it was great.  We went to The Oasis on Lake Travis, the Alamo Drafthouse for Master Pancake Theater, 6th St, Le Garage Sale and just spent some time with our cats and chickens by our lovely pool.  (I know we sound old!)  Before I left Dallas, I was able to sit by the newly renovated swim up pool bar with Ed Clay.  I later enjoyed their waterslides and lazy river.  Sometimes travelling for work has its advantages for sure.  

Ed and I in the pool, plus a piece of the Berlin Wall which is at that hotel for some reason.  Good thing I saw the real one too!
 Sunset at The Oasis
 A bit of Day One - Yes Whataburger was a big tick as well.
 Day Two
 Day Three
I haven't seen Sausage Party yet (we saw Forrest Gump), but the Alamo Drafthouse had exclusive Sausage Party Colouring books, so I had to buy one....not for sale to minors of course!
So that brings you up to now.  I am heading to the airport tonight to collect AG. He has a bit of a break from his Rio activities.  My parents will be here for Labor Day weekend, which will mostly be about projects for the house!  Hopefully some time for relaxing as well.  Not looking forward to it being cold again, but a little bit cooler will be nice.  Am hoping to do a 5k this fall, so let's see how that goes.
Keep dropping if you are in the area.  I love the visitors.
Lots of love,

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

10 years of blogging -- and the adventures continue....

So I realised that on the 21st July 2016, I surpassed the 10 year mark of writing this blog.  It is absolutely crazy to think about all of the things I have done over that time period.  I am sure if you told me way back when I started university what that 10 year period would contain, there was no way I would have believed you.  I really appreciate the time I had overseas and am loving being in my own home now.  What I love the most is how many amazing people I have met along the way.  I still love hearing back from people after each post is released on what is happening with them.  I still appreciate my Facebook free lifestyle.  I am still travelling.  I am not sure if I will ever entirely stop.
Some of my personal blog highlights include:
Overall it has been pretty fantastic.  I hope you all have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  I have no intention of retiring it any time soon either, so here's to another 10 years.  But going through all the posts and seeing the numerous weddings, births, birthdays, nights out, life changing visits, amazing friends etc has really made me feel lots of positive vibes in this odd Brexit/Trump/Pauline Hanson/Phase of Fear we are kind of sitting in currently.  You really can be united across oceans.  And hopefully those of us who have seen that first hand will do what we can to prove it to the non-believers.  

Soapbox complete.

Onto the current update.....
So I have done a bit more work around the house.  It has been about getting things on the wall, the backyard looking a bit more presentable etc.  I have larger plans for the backyard with a patio, garage, pergola, BBQ, planter boxes etc, but for now, we just keep it nicely mowed by my 15 year old neighbour and turn on the festooning in the evenings.
I also managed to finish a long ago designed art project.  I had purchased a typographical world map in Australia several years ago.  With the help of a great custom framer, we put it together with a lot of my photos from all over the world.  It looks absolutely perfect on the exposed brick wall.  Most people say it looks much better in person, but with the strings you can chase back to where each photo was taken.  I love it.  And I can change it whenever as it doesn't have glass on it.
I also managed to get one of my favourite lyrics up in the house as a bit of staircase art.
So Philly has been on the world stage lately thanks to the Democratic Convention being held here.  I didn't watch all of it as I was out of town for work for some of it, but I did manage to see a few who were in town for work.  I also had a quick drive through visit from Aiya all the way from Dubai and lovely fiance Pete.  We had lovely Campo's Cheesesteaks and did the usual Philly Old City things.  
 Philly looks great!
 Lego Liberty Bell
My favourite sign in the whole convention
As I said, I was gone for a bit of the convention down in Orlando.  I did have a little bit of time to hit up Harry Potter World in Universal Studios.  Sadly, Peggy Grubb did not attend this time, but I am sure we will get back there together at some point!  It was really fun, and some of the rides were fabulous!
A few photos
Mel and Dave on the Hogwarts Express
Dave being resourceful during our load out
So then it was a quick trip up to NYC as Stanley came into town!  We hit up 3 rooftop bars in about 4 hours, had some delicious burgers, stayed at The Jane, brunched in the morning, and double downed the beers at McSorleys before heading back to Philly on the train.
Rooftop 1
 Surprise Guests Joe Frisina and Tom Davies aka Davles
Stanley on the platform
 Back in Philly at the house

The first full day in Philly, we actually headed up to Amish Country in Lancaster County.  It was a jam packed day.  We started at a huge flea market, then went to a traditional (and extremely large) smorgasbord, then toured the Amish farm to collect my fortnightly veggie box, then we closed out the day with a trip on the Strasburg train.  It was so cute and lovely.
 These are real names of the towns up there....seriously.
Train time...

 Of course back at home Stanley supplied me with more Pimms!
The following day we got up early and drove to DC.  We did the super quick tour as Al Cameron was in town with Cirque.  We hit Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument before enjoying some mimosas and Buffalo Cauliflower at a rooftop bar near the White House.  Then we headed off to see Al, the matinee and drove back to Philly.
Lincoln's impressive dedication

 Washington Monument and reflecting pool
Rooftop DC Style

 Us with the White House in the background
 Cirque-tastic with Al

As you can probably imagine, the next 100 days or so our country will be bombarded with ads about the upcoming election.  I listened to Hillary's speech.  I donated.  I will campaign.  We will stop Trump.  Love Trumps Hate.  Always.  Does seem very strange to me to have left during the 2000 debacle to return to this, but I am determined to be actively involved this time.  #nevertrump.
And I had to include this.  I have Pokemon Go on my phone, but have refused to start playing, mostly because I know I will get crazy addicted.  Instead, I will sit on my video game chair in my Nintendo Room practicing Beatles tunes on Rockband.  But will secretly play along with anyone who wants to catch Pokemon when they are at my house or out and about with me!
Anyway, hope everyone is well.  Definitely keep stopping by when you are in the East Coast area.  I am totally loving having the visitors...and obviously any excuse to get up to Manhattan!
Lots of love,