Yes, I’m quite shit at the Christmas card thing. I do genuinely get to the end of every November and feel smug that I’ve already thought of Christmas cards, made a list of who to send them to and visualised purchasing cards to send, but I somehow make it to the 26th Dec, hungover and bloated and realise that whilst my friends are organised and thoughtful and have sent lovely cards to me, I've been too busy arguing with Sam over the meaning of Christmas (blatant consumption of shiny things - me - vs thoughtful yet Grinch-like minimalism - Sam) to have actually translated intent into action. So instead, I'm hoping to compensate with a trite, self indulgent mass email/blog articulating our entire year for your no-doubt breathless enjoyment.
After a spectacular 2008, which began with our wedding (in March), a honeymoon (to Mexico and Cuba), huge, dirty renovations to our apartment in Drummoyne, promotions for both Sam and I (I moved to a more senior Brand Management role in the Panadol team at GSK and Sam became an Associate Director at Macquarie Bank) and a trip to beautiful Fiji for Mark and Nicola’s wedding but ended with the GFC and a great deal of job insecurity for Sam we were hoping for a quiet 2009.
In my Merry Oldsmobile
We celebrated our new post-GFC potentially-povo status by cleaning out our already wedding/honeymoon/renovations depleted savings account by purchasing a new car. A shiny Subaru Forester XS Premium. Being a Subaru, I feel compelled to play the stereo loudly at the lights and have once or twice fought the urge to do laps of George St. It takes me from home to work in the same amount of time it takes to play 'November Rain' by Guns n Roses. The Woo had it's swan song at the GSK Christmas party, but in trusty Woo fashion waited until we were outside the London in Balmain, and within coasting distance of a rock star, all day car park to die. The Woo was put out to pasture in the driveway of a nice South African girl from Hornsby who got a bargain, but still paid well and truly more than we were offered in trade-in.
Working for the Man
Once the worst of the GFC stormclouds passed mid-2009, Sam started looking for a new job within Mac Bank. He went from pretty grim prospects, to a handful of awesome potential new roles in a matter of days and panic ensued. One role was well matched to his existing skill set, in an awesome team. The other would develop his skill set in a small powerhouse of a team largely focused on commodities trading with a potential move to New York City, but was a bigger stretch for him. The recruitment process in the commodities team stretched on and on, and in the meantime he was offered the second role. Neither of us slept for days. Eventually, he was offered and accepted the commodities role. Thanks to his patience and hard work, Sammy has managed to come through the GFC in a better position than which he started and I'm so utterly proud of him.
After 3 years and 5 brands at GSK, I decided it was time to move on and I accepted a role as Marketing Manager, Soup at Campbell Arnotts. It was supposed to be a step up, but this place is such a well oiled machine, the brand is in such good shape, and my boss and Assistant Brand Manager (in fact, most of my colleagues) are such superstars that I can only conclude that I've been employed to swan around the office in back breaking heels (purchased especially to improve my marketing skills), double fisting Reeses Pieces whilst simultaneously avoiding the Tim Tam jar in a sanctimonious fashion and occasionally attending meetings in which I simply regurgitate the strategy the last person wrote. I'm working on some interesting stuff this year though, so I'm hoping the level of excitement picks up. The Marketing Director took my number early on, and I've been appointed 'Minister for Fun' and am in charge of 'team bonding', which I think means "booking regular lunches and ordering the cocktails". Aside from presenting a fabulous opportunity career wise, working on a big U.S. brand in a U.S. company will do me no harm if we move to NYC.
Happy Birthday to You (and me)
Thanks to my beautiful friends who attended my birthday in Oct. We drank (excessive) champers by the jetty off the back of our Drummoyne apartment, before a water taxi picked us up and dropped us at Opera Bar. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I think Matty K, the only sober one amongst us, had a less enjoyable time attempting to herd us drunkenly into cabs whilst I hobbled out of Maccas at Circular Quay, whooping with chesseburgery joy. It was a big birthday for a certain Jacquie Fisher this year, and the wiser Mr and Mrs Fisher plus Ben visited from NZ to celebrate. They stayed on for Sam's birthday too but after a number of fancy dinners and some serious Sydney exploration they sadly had to leave us (sad because they left me 3 kilos heavier than when they joined us).
Let's Get Physical
I've taken up tennis. Yes, the least co-ordinated person in the Universe now regularly picks up a large racket and belts a ball towards fellow squishy humans. I'm the only person in history who ever hit a ball backwards into their own face in a move which I'm notching up as a positive. A signature move that defies the fundamental laws of physics? Winner! I recently switched gyms and joined Fitness First, an establishment which my friends have variously described as "a cult", "evil" and "abhorrent". Upon leaving my previous gym, I worked out that in 2009 I drank approximately 70 more bottles of wine than I attended fitness classes.
Haere mai, Haere mai
We spent Christmas and New Years in New Zealand with the Fishers. Highlights included 1. A trip to the unexpectedly cool city of Wellington where copious amounts of booze, food, coffee and art were consumed and where we took a tour of the parliament house where Sam's grandfather conducted his business as Minister for Finance back in the day. Thanks to the Handys for the loan of their glorious apartment 2. The Coldest New Years Eve Ever with Mark and Nicola at Mt Maunganui 3. A trip to Sam's family Marae where uncle Anthony gave a very interesting, informed, history of the Marae and Sam's Whanau 4. Meeting Sam's cousin Gwen, her husband Graham and their daughter Honor who were out from the U.S. 5. The gift of Sam's grandmothers old Elizabeth David cookbooks from Sam's Mum 6. And of course, the famous Fisher hospitality.
Other Miscellaneous Happenings Without a Soundtrack
Our first wedding anniversary in March was very special. Sam cooked me breakfast, which he served with full silverware and linen on a table set up on our jetty. We then went for a bushwalk to some beautiful pristine billabongs in the Royal National Park, before ending up at Bathers Pavillion for dinner, where we were married the year before.
In a textbook consumer response to turbulent economic times, I took up gardening. The small front balcony is now an oasis of green and sustains cherry tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, chives, garlic and a multitude of herbs that somehow manage to stay alive despite considerable neglect. I've also finally started to crack through my book and am currently about 20 chapters in. It's currently undergraduate socialist nonsense but I'm hoping that 2010 will be the year in which I spruce it up and start to farm it out to readers for some brutal feedback. Publishing friends - you're on notice. Keep me in mind when chatting to editor friends because I may need to give it to a couple of people to read. It's pretty bad.
To top it all off, our favourite newborn snuck his way into 2009. Campbell Crowe was born on the 28th Dec. Sam is organising the wetting of the head on Saturday night. Will let you know if he kicks off 2010 with a criminal record. Other fab things to look forward to in 2010 include a potential 6 week secondment to NYC in Feb (with a visit from me in the middle!) for Sam with view to a potential move later in the year. We're off to Perth and the Margaret River for the Australia Day long weekend, and perhaps Bluesfest in Byron over Easter. We're very much looking forward to Mardi and Steve's wedding in NZ in Feb, Dawn and Nick's Reception and Lou C's Hen's in March and George and Lorraine's wedding extravaganza in Belfast in July. Before Ireland we'll sneak over and see all my beautiful Frenchies in London, including Bec, Kath and Hol who will be moving to the dreary place in early 2010 (boo!). We're still deciding on where to make a side trip. I'm thinking Israel and Turkey. Sam wants to do Spain as there will be less chance of death and better wine. Will keep you posted.
So thanks to all our beautiful friends and family who laughed with (and at) us, bit their nails on our behalf, got drunk with us, supported us, spoke gibberish with us and generally added to our lives in 2009. I can only hope that we'll all finish 2010 a little richer (both literally and metaphorically!) than when we started. Happy New Year.