Monday, December 12, 2011

You search on the roll... with your fingernails...

Daniel and I have been watching a lot of Flight of the Concords lately. The Tape of Love song is my favorite. Its been going through my head constantly!

Its very strange that I'm flying overseas next week. It feels very weird indeed. Yesterday I was confused, thinking it was this week. But no, its Wednesday next week on December 21st.

Almost everything is packed. We still have a fair bit to do. We'll have to stay up late tonight and Tuesday, then wake up really early on Wednesday morning. Wednesday we are going to a friend's house for a week.

All in all I'm very excited!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


For the last year I have been in search of the perfect faux jacket. And now I have found it! It was the one last thing I was looking for before I moved home.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The home stretch

In three weeks time I'll be on the plane to go home. I can't explain the amount of excitement and anticipation I'm feeling. I'm wondering what it will feel like to wake up and be home, day in and day out and not for a couple of weeks, but for good, knowing I don't have to leave home anytime soon. It feels like a big gift I'm being given.

In the last five years I've gone home 3 times. The first 2 times were within the first year of living in America. The 3rd time was almost 3 years ago. Had I visited more, maybe my feelings would have been different. We had always planned to move back, so didn't see the point in making too many visits. A 2 year stint in America quickly turned into 5. Time sure flies.

I have a couple of regrets, but all in all I'm happy for this experience. You live and you learn. There are some things I'd do differently. But we can't change the past, only learn from mistakes.

I wonder if it will feel strange to feel at home again. I'm trying to imagine what it will be like to wake up and know I'm back in my homeland. I wonder what it will feel like to be surrounded by Australians, to sound the same as everyone else. Well, almost. There's no hiding the hint of American twang happening these days. The last year my accent has changed just a little. Sometimes I catch myself pronouncing a sharp R in my words. Two weeks of home and that will disappear.

For now, I'm liking a pair of D&G sunglasses. The code is DG4035 if you're interested in looking them up. I tried them on in black and they were amazing. Very Hollywood. I love some glamour;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The November List

I recently added this purple blouse and black and brown leather skirts to my closest. I got them on a tremendous sale at the fraction of their original cost. Leather midi skirts have been all over the runway and I for one am loving the edge they bring to a normally conservative outfit. Besides all the shoes I am coveting I'm yet to find the perfect faux fur coat. Fur coats are so luxurious. I'd never buy real fur due to lack of funds and I might have PETA after me ;) All the faux fur coats I have tried on have ended up being a little boxy which isn't the best for my figure. So I'm on the hunt (no pun intended) for a longer faux fur coat.

Last night I started watching Woody Allen's "Alice" with Mia Farrow. I love her mink coat in it. I'm really enjoying the movie and am excited to watch the rest of it tonight!

Here's some things I'm coveting lately:-

These shoes are adorable. I'm thinking patterned tights, or black fishnets with these:-

Purple tights with these ones! Or socks. I haven't figured out what color yet:-

I love suede shoes. So rich looking:-

These fabulous sunglasses have been on my want list for quite some time!

These are to die for:-

Monday, September 26, 2011

Red Tide

Last night was really fun. Daniel and I played Caylus and then I was ready to hit the sack. I’m a bit of an early bird in terms of bedtime. I like to be in bed by 11pm. Anything after that and I get pretty tired. I figured that out about myself many years ago, but now that I’m no longer in my 20’s I seem to need my sleep a little more. Or maybe I’ve just realized what suits me. There’s no more nights where I have just 4 hours of sleep then wake up at 7am full of adrenalin and ready for the day. I used to be able to do that for a few nights in a row with no consequences. These days – I like and need my sleep. I think as you mature you realize what you need in your life. For me that is 8 hours sleep every night, thank you very much!

After the game Daniel said he wanted to show me the “red tide”. I hesitated, feeling more inclined to go to bed. Instead I agreed, since its not very often my husband suggests a walk on the beach at night. I love to walk on the beach at night. We’ll often go down after dark for a stroll. Hardly anyone is around at night and its peaceful. Its just the two of us, our chatter and holding hands. The red tide was incredible! I was so happy we went down to see it. In the day the water looks red, but at night time you cannot see the color of the water. The water and the dark sky blend into each other, erasing the horizon. Out of nowhere suddenly come white clouds of waves which look as though they have been hit by an electrical storm. Its amazing! The waves are fluorescent with the red tide. Crazy!

Saturday was nice. Daniel and I went down to San Diego and visited a historic house. It was down near Balboa Park. We did a tour then walked the streets from Balboa to Hillcrest. It was sunny with only a slight crispness to the air, which I love. The area near Balboa Park is so green and leafy. The streets are lined with trees and have a lot of older homes. We had coffee and gelato at this little Italian cafĂ©. I went and got my eyebrows threaded. We walked some more and eventually decided to get dinner at a new organic pizza place. The salad and pizza were superb. They served craft beer. The vegetables in the salad were so fresh and rich, the salad didn’t even need dressing. So unlike the vegetables bought at the supermarket. Saturday was a fun day. Then yesterday we took Daniel’s Nana out for lunch, came home, ended up sleeping for a couple of hours! Then we did some packing. After that was the beach walk.

That was our weekend in a nutshell. I’ve decided to keep this blog in Australia. After all, I’ll always be not quite Californian ;)
(And I can't think of a name I like any better!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three months but whose counting

I have decided to work right up until we leave. Until December 16th. I figure I might as well work as much as possible here since I have a well paying job here in the States, and I don’t know when I’ll find a job that’s a keeper in Australia. I’m planning on taking a three month break when we get to Sydney. We’ll see how that goes. Yesterday I got all practical and was looking up jobs already. I’m worried I’ll look at jobs when we get there and find something I like, and will want to take it. I’m not a workaholic, but I’m a wannabe slacker who never delivers. I get all practical and think about finances. I could never be “looked after”. The other day my MIL said to me “I can’t work because it takes over my life and I can’t keep a balance”. I thought it was a cop-out. My inlaws are staying with people at the moment because they have no money and my MIL refuses to work. I told her that sometimes it’s a necessity to work and its important to pay the bills and compartmentalize our focus and time. Work is work, but in your lunchbreak and home time – that’s your time that your boss will not pay you for! Its hard to find balance sometimes, especially if you work full time, but a necessity. Who wants to get to 80 years old and realize they spent their life dedicated to “the man”? Lately I have been worried about my inlaws and how they’ll cope as they get older. They are good and kind people people. My mil is a good woman, but feels that she should be looked after and catered to by her husband and sons. I have a hard time with that. I believe that women too have a responsibility to help the family financially. I’d love to sit back and relax too and not have to worry about making a living – but it’s a part of life these days, unless we have a very wealthy husband! Thoughts?

Anyway, we are starting to pack up our apartment. We’ve slowly been getting rid of things. I’m looking forward to having less “stuff” and taking more of a minimalistic approach to living. Moving is a good time to start afresh. Daniel and I both have goals we’re looking forward to working towards finally.

To be honest, I’m most excited about seeing Australia through more appreciative eyes. I will appreciate feeling at home more than ever I suspect.

For now its about America. I can’t believe we’re only here three more months. People are asking me if I’m sad to leave America. I wish I felt a twinge of sadness, but I don’t. I’ve been ready to go for a couple of years. I only feel happiness, excitement and anticipation. Three months can’t come around quickly enough. I feel bad that I don’t feel a sense of loss. I know there will be no tears on my part. I love the friends I have made here but don’t like the area we live in. I wonder if I would have enjoyed this five year experience more if we’d lived in another part of America.

This week we’re telling the parents we have booked our tickets. We booked our tickets a couple of months ago but have been holding off telling them. Hopefully it will be without too much drama. I doubt it though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Checking Out

I'm not talking grocery shopping...

When I left Australia almost five years ago I remember six months before leaving I “checked out”. In my head I was leaving and I had my fiancĂ© and our up and coming wedding on my mind.

In four months we’re moving to Australia. We’ve been planning this for some time. Its long overdue. We’ve been waiting around for my brother inlaw to get married. That’s happening at the end of October! Applying for Visa’s and waiting to be at a point where we were somewhat financially stable took a while. But now we’re there and very excited!

I promised myself I wouldn’t check out like I did last time. When you plan something like this your head is wherever you will be physically in said number of months. I’ve already checked out a little. I’ve been arriving late for work. My boss knows I’m leaving. I don’t feel like meeting new people, instead spending quality time with the people I’m already close to here.

Lately I’ve been buying last minute things. Things on my “needs” list that I know will be twice the price in Oz. Eg. A new pair of Tiger Asics. A couple of hoodies. Earphones (see picture!). I’ve been wanting earphones for a while, but kept putting it off. These guys retail at twice the recommended retail price in Australia. I got the white instead of black. I wonder if I’ll regret that in the next couple of years… white just seemed slightly more girly, and less “in the studio”.
I haven’t really got anything left on my list. The only things left on the list are one more bonfire this summer. Have fun with our close friends. Handle our leave with grace and dignity. (note – family issues).

I’m looking at starting a new blog documenting our new lives in Australia. I’m excited to experience my favorite city in the world through changed eyes. Living overseas for a number of years has had quite an impact on me. I’m sure I’ll have a newfound appreciation for my home and those who are nearest and dearest to me.

Here's the deal:- Sennheiser PX 200 ii

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.” - Andy Rooney

Except for this. Daniel's Visa was approved! Its happening! Now we're waiting on his little brother to get hitched. He has a month to get engaged (we have not told him this). If it hasn't happened within a month we're not going to stick around. No pressure bro... However we can't plan our lives around his brother.

A move overseas is a little daunting but incredibly exciting. Its not a do-over. But a new start. Sometimes I think back to the kid who left Sydney at 26 years old. That kid has grown up a little, gotten a little more worldly wise - and dare I say it a little American. 5 years in a place will that to ya. I think I used to live inside a bubble. I felt like a kid and it was great. Now, I still feel like a kid at times, but the world seems like a different place now. I wonder how much I'll settle back into my old patterns once on home turf.

Today I was walking on the beach. Summer in SoCal is beautiful. The sand is dirty, but the water is pretty clear. My friend Janelle and I walk together about 2 times a week and have a good chin wag. She's a swell gal and I know my Aussie mates are going to love her. She's an ENFP if any of my friends are reading this. I've realised that a lot of my close-close friends are the ENF's. I'm an ENTP. I haven't met many girls who are an ENTP. Most I've met are SF's or NF's. Although I think my cousin is an INTP - similar to me.

Anyway, we have a few American friends who are just waiting for our move so they can make the trip out to Oz. It'll be fun doing the Blue Mountains thing, camping and introducing them to friends.

Saturday night I made a couple of batches of curry and we had friends over. I like this time of year. We come out of our hibernation and get a little more hospitable. We're yet to have beach bonfires down at the beach. hopefully soon....

In the meantime I'm going to start using Aussie words again. Otherwise I'll get shredded when we're home. Ketchup? what's ketchup? oh, you mean tomato sauce buddy ;) (i mean "mate")

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

And it was called yellow

I'm at work and suddenly I felt quite chipper. Maybe it was the realization that in 45 mins I can go to lunch, buy a cadbury twirl bar, go to favourite coffee shop and drink tea. Its raining moderately and is cool here in SoCal today. I'm grateful for the change in weather. I brought my bright blue rain coat in so I can walk around at lunchtime in the rain. Pity I forgot my Hunter rain boots.

I haven't really bought anything in a long time. Other than tee shirts from American Apparel last week. I hate the company and everything they represent, but I love their tee shirts. Go figure. Anyway, I came across this trench coat. What a great shade of yellow. I can imagine walking around Sydney in this jacket in the rain and feeling quite pleased with myself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kakadu You!

I've been reading a lot of decorating blogs lately and have a huge file of pictures for inspiration. I'm really excited to finally move into a new apartment and decorate it as I like. Our apartment we are in right now is just lovely, very cute, quaint and full of colour, which I like. However I'm ready to put my heart into decorating. Not necessarily spending a lot of money, but slowly over time adding things that I like. I don't feel the need to fill our new apartment (to be) with furniture straight away. Rather to get something for the apartment if it sings to me. I'm not getting a couch until I find one I'm in love with. We'll buy a mattress straight away. But we'll be using cardboard boxes and borrowed fold out chairs until we find things that work (aka that I like). I'm so excited for the impending and ongoing project that is coming up. We didn't do a whole lot with the apartment we're in, knowing that we'd eventually leave. We also didn't realize we'd live here a full five years. We thought it would be 2 years. Time flies though.

It looks like we're set to leave the US at the end of the year. We were planning on leaving in September, but my brother inlaw and his girlfriend will probably marry around October/November time. We want to be here for their engagement and see them when they get back.

I'm so excited for many things. I'm itching to get a dog or (hypoallergenic!) cat. I need something to love and take care of. I've been telling my husband he'd better let me get a pet soon, before I start saying I want children! haha. But in all seriousness, the need to love and care for something, whether a child or pet kicks in for many women at around 30. Right now, all I want is a pet. A medium sized dog and I'll be happy.

We were talking about Australia last night and exploring the unknown country. So much of its unknown to me. We're hoping our friend Nathan comes out in the next 2 years. We're planning on going to Kakadu to go camping. Then visit Broome and the north of Western Australia, possibly driving south to Perth, through Monkey Mia and then Geraldton. We'd need a good 3 weeks for that. The thought of being in the bush, by beautiful gorges in the blistering heat thrills me. In the north of WA there are the most amazing thunderstorms in the afternoon. Especially in the wet season. The sky turns a brilliant shade of purple. It starts to rain lightly yet its warm outside. The rain is a relief. In the distance the sky gets angry and you're on a dirt road with dirt thats almost red in colour. You're surrounded by the bush and see the occasional kangaroo or emu. I remember driving away from such thunderstorms, and emu's passing us while we drive in the landcruiser. Australia is the most beautiful country that I'm still in love with. I've never gotten it out of my system. I was talking about it to a gal I'd just met. She said "you'll stay here. people always end up staying in california". She asked me about Australia and what its like. I described the outback and the beaches. She smiled and said "sounds like you'll go home. Your heart is still there". While I'm looking forward to living in Sydney, its WA that I want to explore. Its so untouched. The beaches there are incredible. They are different to beaches on the East Coast of Australia. The water is clearer, the sand whiter, and they are much less populated.

I'm not saying living in Australia will be perfect. It'll be a nice change though. There's no place like home. I'm feeling hesitant to leave America in some ways. 5 years is a big chunk of my life. I love certain things about it here. But I'm eager for change. For the unknown.

Putting our roots down finally will be nice, instead of feeling so temporary. I think I lived so "temporarily" here because I wanted to feel like I was going home "next year". It was always next year. And now it finally is this year. Granted at the end of the year!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomorrow's a new day, with no mistakes

Tonight my heart broke a little and I'm feeling a mixture of emotions. One of my closest friends has had a painful experience. I have been where she's at and know that no matter how much I try to be there, its going to take time to heal wounds. When you're close with someone you feel a little of what they're feeling. You can't help but take on some of those emotions, and feel indignation on their behalf, sadness and wanting to comfort as much as you can. My friend is a beautiful person, and I know she'll be just fine. Its just hard right now.

Tonight Daniel and I finished all our Australian paperwork. We're sending it to the Australian Immigration Dept tomorrow. I have such mixed feelings. I feel very emotional about it all. I don't want to leave my friends and the people I love here. I can't imagine my day to day life without certain people in it. But at the same time I'm ready to be back in Australia. I can hardly imagine what it will be like to be home again. I'm glad that I lived here making the most of this experience. I feel like I had a few moments of homesickness, but they were just a few moments compared to the actual amount of time I have spent here. We've had some wonderful times here. I feel that all in all I took what I could and ran with it. Its my intent to make the next six months here really count. To love it, and enjoy it thoroughly. To leave with a bang. By the time we leave I'll have lived here 5 years. Thats a big part of my life, and it will always be with me. A small part of me is just a little (only a little!) Californian ;) Although I wouldn't freely admit that in person (only on the internet!).

Despite my friend's sadness, I had the most lovely day with her and other friends. We babysat for a friend and had an awesome time with their son, a wonderful child with an interesting and lively personality. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon we had with him. What a great day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Here's a couple of photos from our family photo session taken last month.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Flowers in the Window

Today was a perfectly lovely day. My day off. It was sunny and warm in Socal. It was nice to have a bright day and have the chance to be outdoors. I went out with friends in the morning. When we were done at noon I went over to Trader Joe's and got a salad. Sat by the pier and enjoyed the sun and slight breeze. After that went for my massage. I've been getting massages once a week since we got back from our big trip. My shoulder still isn't doing well. I'm avoiding an operation like the plague! I seem to maintain the pain ok with physical therapy and massage. Expensive yes. I'm afraid an operation could cause other problems. Anyway after my massage went home, made dinner (bbq pulled pork sandwiches with corn on the cob on the side - very American!) then went to the gym. A change in pace today was so nice. I'm feeling a little stressed and am not enjoying my job right now. I know we all go through that feeling. My job is difficult, and I struggle understanding some things about it sometimes. I'm in IT and its not something I find super easy. I go through my ups and downs and work - like we all day! Needless to say, days like today and the weekends prove to be such a nice relief. The change in pace is always so welcome, and to be outside. Daniel often wants to do things inside like play boardgames, watch tv. On the weekends all I want is to be outside! So maybe I'll organize a hike in the next couple of weekends.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Live Deliberately

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” - Henry David Thoreau

Friday, February 25, 2011

Inner beauty

I found this article to be beautifully written and inspirational.

We live in a world so focused on outer beauty, however that is not what defines us. We are not defined by a number on the scale or how pretty we look on any given day, how well dressed we are or how young we look. Some of those things have their place but are not the most important things in life. It is our personality, our interests and hobbies, our passions in life and the way we treat other people, being spiritual women, being gracious and kind. Those are some of the things we'll be remembered for. This article was just wonderful!

Paris J'Taime

Some thoughts on the French. I enjoyed watching the French. French women smoke a lot. They do not eat a lot. One morning Dan and I were in an American-style bistro for a hearty breakfast for our big day ahead. The first morning we had croissants and coffee. It was fabulous, but did not keep us going for the morning. We were walking all day long, we needed protein! So we're at this American-style bistro/cafe in the Latin Quarter and were promptly greeted by a young American man with Justin Bieber styled hair, with an artsy attitude and who was trying to act too cool to care. Slightly amusing. The gal at the counter was originally from Texas. Super sweet. I got talking to her and asked what the French eat for breakfast. "How do they survive on croissants and coffee? Everywhere we go its croissants and coffee - but we needed eggs this morning, which is why we're here". The Texas lass said that her french friends hardly eat anything! She said "from what I've observed of french women, they eat a croissant in the morning, a salad at lunch, and share a dinner at night. They just don't eat a lot. Me - I need a good breakfast". Our sentiments exactly. I felt a little guilty for eating at an American styled bistro for breakfast, but with 10 hours walking ahead - we needed something hearty. We shared a croissant over morning tea with a coffee!

The croissants in Paris are as fabulous as can be. The bakeries incredible. Tarts, macaroons, pain au chocolate. Mmm. Each day I bought myself something as a treat. One day it was a chocolate tart (life will never be the same again). Another day a pear tart. At night I ate nutella crepes, profiteroles, steak & frites. You name it, I ate it. We walked a good 10 hours each day, which helped work off some of our eating - but not that much eating! Alas, we were in Paris for 3 full days. It has to be experienced as fully as possible.

My favorite part of Paris was the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. I've been fascinated with that area since I was a kid and studying French. The Eiffel Tower of course is incredibly huge, as is the Louvre. My favorite neighborhood was in the 4th arron - Le Marais. So many good bakeries. I loved the streets of Le Marais. We visited Montmartre, which was lovely but terribly overrun by tourists. That spoiled it a little for me. I don't like to feel like I'm hanging out with tourists :) (oxymoron?) Instead I love to wonder villages and get a real feeling for the place. We stopped in many cafe's to read and drink tea. We walked from the Latin Quarter all the way to Notre Dame, through the Tuileries and up through the Champs Elysees to the Arc De Triomphe. What a walk!!! It was lightly raining, which made the streets beautiful. Walking by the Seine is a real lovely of course. I've always liked Bridges. Yes, bridges. So to be in Paris was exciting for a Bridge lover like myself ;) I liked Pont Neuf a lot. Pont des Artes is one of the famous bridges. I liked it on the Le Marais side of the Seine.

We went to see a ballet at the Garnier Paris Opera House. What a treat! We had a box, which felt very "The Age of Innocence". The Paris Opera House is wonderfully opulent and splendid. The ballet was very moving. It was performed to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Four Seasons will always sound and feel different to me from now on. What an experience. "Winter" is my personal favorite of the seasons.

The Musee D'Orsay was one of my favorite places to visit. I love impressionist art, and am currently trying to find an art history course to take locally. I'm a big fan of Manet and Renoir's works. To view such wonderful artist's paintings was just fantastic. I've been fortunate enough to have gone to many wonderful exhibitions, including a Renoir exhibition in Los Angeles last year and a Monet exhibition in Perth, along with visiting world renowned art museums. But the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre really "took the cake" for me.

I'll write later with more Paris reflections.


I have so much to write about. I wish I had a chance to blog when overseas. Now I'm back in Southern California in my living room with no voice. Its Friday. We got back Thursday night.

England was just lovely. I love England. Its a country that resonates with me and I could happily live in, with Daniel. Unfortunately Daniel doesn't feel the same way. He doesn't mesh with England, just like I don't mesh with California. I have tried for four years, but its not happening. Ce La Vie. I feel like I've overstayed my welcome in California. Or maybe California has overstayed its welcome with me. I know its definitely time to leave because I'm starting to resent this place. When flying back in from England I didn't feel like I was flying home. I felt like I was flying back into a country I didn't want to be in, that I felt nothing for. Either way we've grown tired of each other and being away gave me some wonderful perspective on life. I needed to get out, to enjoy other cultures, to be with my family. I find Americans to be very much "its all about America". Many do not see outside of their Californian world. Not all Californians are like that - in fact, many I know aren't - I have many beautiful friends here. But there are many people who will make comments like "you don't speak properly" "you don't say things the right way". Pah to that. Comments like that get old. I think to myself "do you know how ignorant you sound?" - but whats the point of saying this? Going away reminds me that there are different languages, different accents, different ways of doing things outside of California's bubble of warm weather and "everything is perfect". These things are obvious - and things I've always known of course. But experiencing different cultures was so refreshing. So very needed. I might sound cynical, but thats how it gets when you've outgrown a place. I'm not sure I ever grew into it here. Being away reminded me I can't live my life feeling guilty about living in my home country, for living my life near my own family and friends - and that living here isn't the life for me. I've made a decision to switch off any emotions felt when made to feel guilty about moving back to my home. Because life friends is meant to be enjoyed, to be grasped with both hands and to be made the most of. We cannot live our lives through other people

Monday, February 7, 2011

La Vie En Rose

Friday we leave for Europe. I'm so excited. For the most part people are excited for us. One person we're close to isn't. But oh well - when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. Right? Hopefully its not sour lemonade. I'm always baffled when people aren't just happy for you in life. When something nice happens for someone - its the kind thing to be excited for them. Oh well, we all come in different shapes and sizes, right?!

Yesterday we had family pictures. The leadup to it was stressful - way more stressful than it had to be. But its over and done with now. Hopefully the pics come out nicely. I'm sure they will.

So we head to Europe Friday and go straight down to Dorset to visit my parents. I'm looking forward to spending time with them. We're also heading to Paris and Belgium after. I'll have more to write after the fact.

I'm feeling a little tired today, so if I'm sounding less than inspired - thats why. However I felt the need to document something about our upcoming trip! We've had a lot-alot on lately. It feels like we've been going to endless meetings. Not the AA kind. You know the kind I mean. We've had assembly/special talk on top of our usual meeting/witno schedule. Its been great - really it has. We have been "socializing" a lot too. We probably have to cut that back a little. Like... when we're forty maybe.

This week I'm packing. I read you should put your things together a week before and slowly go through it - taking out what you don't need. I always overpack. Its hard not to when you're heading to cold weather.

I drink way too much beer. I'm getting a beer belly. If I was a guy I'd be proud of it. I'm pretty ballsy, but not that ballsy ;)