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Yo ho, ho ho, a pirate’s party for Steve….!

Is started as a joint birthday party, and evolved into a dress-up party after Holly re-told the story of Dave’s childhood dream to have a pirate party (but his mum wouldnt let him!)   So for his 30th, and for the October/November birthdays of Steve, Holly, Sarah and Meghann, we got our pirate on!

(Mel, Claire and Casey)

(yep, thats 15+ 30somethinsg yos dressed as pirates…)

(Grace & Claire)

(S&C pirate crew)

It’s race week in Melbourne!

We went to Derby Day on Saturday with Barry and Sarah for an afternoon of picnicking and champagne, and maybe a few wayward bets… (I won $20 on Wall Street!)

The thing about the races is that you are at the mercy of the weather gods.  They must have heard my prayers for a few days of sunshine before we head back in to winter, because we ended up with an absolutely splendid day:  sunny, warm, light breeze.  It was Melbourne weather at its best, so we just sat back and soaked it in.  (‘Course all these pictures look overcast but it was sunny, I swear!  I’ve got the sunburn to prove it!!)

(the whites in white (and black…))

(What do yout think:  is this (A) a campaign ad for Heineken, (B) a print spread profile of a politician looking pensive or (C) a really tall Irishman??)

What a way to spend a halloween — at a murder mystery night at our favorite cocktail bar in Melbourne, 1806.  Sarah, winning best dressed for her stunning red flapper dress, even got a book with all their signature cocktails! 

It was surprisingly fun to dress up like 1920s Chicago gangsters, and surprisingly exhausting to stay in character all evening. At the end of the night, we all survived…

(Sam and Serena Siren, the well-connected Sicilians)

Our friends are the greatest. 

A Saturday evening out for burritos turned out to  be a ruse for a super sweet surprise party… All our friends were there, and Mel even made these awesome banners that were hung all over the bar!

(the organizing gang — Stuart, Matt (aka the Beard), Millie, Meaghan, Casey, Mel — and of course me and Steve)

After there was Margaret River, and before there was the great day hike along the Bibbulmun Track, there was some general tramping in Walpole Nornalup National Park with Kristin and Damiano.  We spent some time wandering through the Valley of the Giants, home of the towering karri gum trees, girthsome tingle trees and crazy-barked jarrah trees.  More pictures you know where

We’ve had a great time over the past few weeks exploring the city with Kristin and Dami, meeting up with Maud and Steve (friends of K&D made in Paris and now residing in Australia) and Paolo and his daughter, Annabelle (Dami’s 
cousin and niece) and Kelly & Adam in their (now former) ‘hood.

We wandered around the CBD, meandered through the royal botanical gardens, took in a footy game, and spent an afternoon strolling along the streets St. Kilda.  It’s nice to take time to appreciate the city you live in…

More pictures on the photos page.

Kristin’s camera has the coolest setting ever – sketch mode.

This is me, on the pier at St. Kilda beach.

(photo by kcma)

We just bought a new camera (Sony HX20V), for a new, compact hiking and adventure version of the larger Sony we’ve owned and loved for the last few years.  The new camera is a pretty rad little handheld with 20x zoom and a ridiculous amount of options and features.

We spent Saturday afternoon walking around Melbourne with Kristin, Dami, Paolo and Annabelle and testing out the color filter features.

(yellow:  birds of paradise, Royal Botanical Gardens)

(blue:  random couple, Centre Place)

(red:  Centre Place alleyway)

(green:  Kristin & Damiano, Royal Botanical Gardens)

As much as we are happy to be coming home (and trust me, we really are so happy for that moment), we have really loved living in Melbourne.  The friends we have made here are no small part of that.  In fact, they’re a huge part of it.  So it’s pretty depressing to think that we won’t see some of them again.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had when leaving D.C.  See in my law firm life in D.C., there were the three musketeers (me, Laura and Mark, who all summered and started at the law firm together) and the wise sage who (with some reluctance) took us under his wing and guided us through the hard weeks with plentiful martinis.  As one might gather, junior associate life at a “big law” firm is pretty much akin to torture. Our exit plans were a frequent topic of discussion; it was no secret that we all wanted out, it was just a matter of time. 

So when I decided my “out” was moving to our firm’s Melbourne office, I was frankly surprised my fellow musketeers took the news so hard.  After all, we all talked about leaving one day, right?  But as the wise old man pointed out, I was doing the leaving first.  I was leaving them behind.

It honestly hadn’t occurred to me to think of it in that way.

Recently, I’ve been in the uncomfortable position of being both the deserter and the deserted.  My dear friend and companion in the Melbourne office has decided to cut her losses and run.  Literally.  Out of law firm life, out of Australia, back to a life that resembles what so many think of as normal — where things like family, friends and sanity take priority. 

Which honestly, has shook me. After all, it was supposed to be her farewelling me in November.  And now in a few short weeks, I’ll be the one left behind.

And a few short months (weeks really) after that, we’ll be leaving. Leaving great friends we’ve made in Melbourne behind.

(it all sounds a little apocolyptic, I know)

So in between moments of feeling like a deserter (again), I’m just trying to savor the moments with friends.  Lunch, movies, coffees, dinner parties in Richmond, pubs, cheap eats in Chinatown, after dinner drinks on Tuesday, Wednesday…is it Thursday yet???

This is probably the real culprit for my lack of blogging in the past few months; I’ve been spending too much time having fun in the real world.  (see drinking English cider like it’s going out of style). 

Which really, when you think about it, is a pretty good reason.

After a Friday night of debauchery with the gals in Melbourne, we ended up at Senoritas — my new favorite restaurant in the CBD and the second restaurant in Melbourne to actually have decent Mexican food.  The decor is Day of the Dead; the food a pleasing array of small dishes (tacos and dips) and standard mains (like a perfectly spicy and sweet rich chicken mole).

When the bill came, it was adorned by this cute little skull pin, which having had multiple rounds of margaritas, we promptly ooohed and aaawwwed over. So our server gave us each one – turns out they are little costume rings that they flatten and slide onto your receipt.

We spent the rest of the night (yes, we continued to drink…) rolling around the CBD and raising our rings shouting “sister skull power!!”  Strangely, no magic powers emanated from the rings, but we had a good time showing them off nonetheless.

To commemorate the event, and take a little piece of Friday nights out with the girls in Melbourne home with me, I came up with this colorful design.

¿ que bonita, no?