Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You're Just Jealous 'Cause We're Young and in Love

This past weekend most of our group headed down to Terrigal to see two of our friends get married. It was the first church service I had been to in a long time, but it was short and other than it being in a church it didn't feel like a typical church marriage service.

After the vows were said and rings exchanged, we had about 2 hours to kill until the reception so we all headed out for a snack and then to a nice outdoor bar area to wait. The reception was held at the surf club on the beach and it was a beautiful view. Our friends did a great job of setting up the place and these were the favors sitting at everyone's place at the table (sorry for the blurriness, these were all taken with my camera phone):
They are seashells sitting on sand-the seashells are chocolate and the sand is actually a mixture of raw and brown sugar! The centerpiece was a square vase with shells in the bottom and a fighting fish swimming around inside. The food was fantastic and all of our friends actually got to sit at one table together and we had the best time. I even got pulled on to the dance floor (sober) and attempted to dance, but this white girl has no rhythm with no cocktails in her! It was a very fun night and our group scrubs up very nicely when the occasion calls for it. It was also great to see most of the couples out on the dance floor and the way that they looked at each other with such happiness and love while they danced, I know it's totally cornball of me to say but it made me happy to watch and put a smile on my face. I'm going to miss these guys when I'm home for 3 months! Boyfriend and I shared a dance and a laugh at the very end of the night and I told Boyfriend that I would do a first dance with him (which I've never really wanted to do) if we ever got married if it could be as fun and laid back as how we were dancing then (ie. very uncoordinated and fun). Oh, and I forgot to say, LC caught the bouquet! It's the second time she's caught it at friends' weddings so she thinks it's about time that Bob Marley gets her a ring and sets a date!

Here's what I wore to the wedding:
Dress by H&M. I've worn it a few times before and I really like it. I think it cost about $40 and it's super comfy and I wish we had H&M in Australia!
These shoes aren't normally my style but Boyfriend saw them in the shop and really liked them so I tried them on and they weren't too hurty so I got them and was able to wear them all night long, except for the walk back to the car at the end of the night. (We had as much drama finding shoes as I had looking for dresses...You would not believe the price of shoes here- I went in to Payless and found a pair that I kindof liked and they were $80!! $80 at Payless! The other stores had shoes that were ok for like $100 but not a name brand of any type or stores like Target and Big W had tacky-ass looking stuff that was still $50! I think I spent about $60 on these and to me I think they look like $30-$40 shoes, oh well)
I thought this clutch was totally cute. It was the first thing I bought, other than the dress I already had so I based my outfit around the black, white, and silver from the clutch. I also got it for $15, it was half off!
These are the earrings and the necklace I got. I'm going to try and return the necklace because it got super knotted about 5 seconds after putting it on and didn't look cute at all after that, though it did look really cute hanging in the shop! The Teacher had bought the same necklace the weekend before to wear to the Bachelorette party and told me hers did the same thing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Little Sister, Little Sister

I haven't talked about my sister, Nae, much here in awhile because I haven't seen her in about 8 months. We try and talk every week or every other week, but it's just not the same as being at home and fighting and having adventures together. Nae is headed out next weekend as an intern on a great white shark diving boat to the Farallone Islands off the San Francisco coast. It has been her dream to travel there ever since reading the book The Devil's Teeth about the shark activity that goes on there. I hope that she has fun and is safe and, most importantly, spots at least a few sharks! If she gets any pictures, I'll be sure to post them on here. I can't wait to hear about her trip when she gets back!

I may have also mentioned before that Nae did a double major in college of Art and Environmental Sciences. Her art reflects her science background and deals with a mixture of human anatomy, animals, and themes about environmentalism. With her permission, I'm posting a bunch of her artwork on here today. It's not for everyone, as she does a lot of blood and guts stuff, but I've got to tell you that most of it turns out really interesting. There have been times when we've butted heads over her art, but not because I don't like it or appreciate it, only because there are so many damn large pieces that she was keeping at Mom and Dad's old house that needed to be moved when they were moving. She still thinks I don't like her fishbowl made from an old toilet piece, but I really do think it is neat; I was just being practical that Mom and Dad didn't need an old, dirty, unused toilet hanging out in their garage. Now that it is back to being a little fountain with fish in it, I think it is great!

These are some jellies she did up close. The rest of this painting has toilets floating in the background that blend in with the jellies.
This is a painting of some sand dollars. I'd like to have a beach wedding and I'm going to ask Nae to do a sand dollar/ star fish design for the invites and other stuff for the wedding...if it ever happens!
I forget if this is a dung beetle or a rhino beetle, but it's the grown bug and it's pupa. Nae casted this whole thing in bronze and built the box the big guy is sitting on. They are supposed to look like a blown up version of what you'd find in a science museum: the bugs on display with the big pins in them to keep them in place. Both of these pieces are very very heavy and hard to move!
This is another piece made from bronze that she first did in wax and then cast in bronze. It probably weighs between 25-30 pounds, but you can't tell from looking at it because it's about the size of a football. This is a frog that is being dissected and she cast her hand, as well, to have it coming out of the frog.
Another view of the dissected frog.
The toilet fountain I mentioned above.
This is a cast of one of her roommates. It's pretty freaky because it looks like the person is in a gross, bug-like cocoon!
These are intestines. She made them with real meat and towels. She didn't seal it properly the first time and the meat started getting a bit stinky...Haha, her poor roommates!
This is her human flesh.
I know this painting can seem really gruesome, but I think it's really neat and looks like it should be in a comic book!
This is a piece called "Denny" Don't know if it's about Grey's Anatomy's Denny or what since you are looking at the inside of the chest cavity and in to the heart and he had a bad heart...
I think this effect was done by placing another canvas behind the first one and then cutting the top layer so you could see what was going on underneath.
This sculpture had a mosaic thing happening on the insides. Care to guess what they are?? They are capillaries or blood vessels. You could probably display this in your house without anyone knowing it was something freaky.
My grandma saw this piece and said, "What a great drawing of hills." Can you tell what it really is?
This funky piece was meant for an old boyfriend of Nae's but I ended up keeping it in my old room for a long while and I love it.
I'm not sure what the hand at the top is about, I'll have to ask Nae, but the rest of the piece has an asian-inspired theme. Notice the little girl is wearing a leash? Nae based it off of a picture she took of a little Asian kid at Disneyland on a leash. She also did a second version of this painting for Boyfriend and it is hanging in his bedroom at his parents' house.
Koi fish painting. Mom and Dad had this hanging in their room for awhile. Nae also made some really cool light green sushi plates that have koi fish on them. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of those.
Nae took molds of different Buddha statues and then set up lights inside of each one.
This is the full piece and the lights fade in and out inside each Buddha and looked really cool sitting under the window in our old TV room.

I heard she's been working on a new piece so I'll have to post that when she's done!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

When the Weather's Wet and Cold, Where do Possums Go?

The other night I was laying on our bed watching something I had downloaded and Boyfriend was in his office working away when I heard our possum running along the fence and up on to our laundry room. This happens most nights and I continued to watch my show. A little while later we must have had two possums chasing each other across the roof because the sound was deafening! Twice they did laps back and forth across the roof really quickly and then it was silent and Boyfriend said he heard one jump on to the laundry roof. A few minutes later I heard another one jump so I ran through the house, switched on the light outside the laundry room and saw one climb up the tree. Boyfriend came out and brought a flashlight and I found the little guy amongst the leaves and branches. He sat and watched us watching him for awhile and we were able to snap this picture of him before he scrambled up in to thicker leaves and was out of sight. Poor thing, we must have blinded him with the flashlight and the camera flash, but he didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So I'm Sitting in the Classroom, I'm looking like a Zombie

This morning I slept in and I was just waking up when my phone rang at 9:30. I didn't recognize the number and I wasn't expecting any calls, but I picked it up anyway. On the other end was a lady from a service called "Casual Direct". It is a service you sign up for when you graduate saying what schools in your area you'd be willing to do substitute teaching days at. Now, they've had my info since last November and I've never gotten a call from them once before today so I was shocked. She asked if I could make it out to a school that morning. They had already been in session for nearly 30 minutes at that time and it'd take me at least another 30-45 to get dressed and get over there. At first I said, "No, I don't think I can," but then I changed my mind (and thought about how me and Boyfriend could use the $200-250 for 5 hours worth of work. Sidenote: are you U.S. subs and teachers totally mad that we make that much here? Last time I looked, in Santa Cruz you only make $85-$100 a day!) and decided "What the heck, let's do this!" So I scrambled to throw together clothes and make sure everything was ready in my substitute teaching kit I've had all year, but had no use for, and Boyfriend and I were out the door.

The kids were overwhelming and on their worse behavior. I had fun activities and bribes and prizes and it just did not matter. They were in 5/6th grade and too cool or something. It was a hard day, made even harder when for the last hour I was given a whole new group of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to do an art project with. The project was one they had already started and basically consisted of turning bits of foil in to a sculpture. The foil instead ended in balls being flung across the classroom! I got them to stop the project because they weren't doing anything anyway and wanted them to clean up and we were just going to do another activity I had up my sleeve, but getting them to clean up and be quiet was the mission from Hell. I have never yelled so much in my life. I was definitely glad when the day was over and all I could think about was, "Woohoo, money!" I was exhausted and dejected. I thought, "I can't do this again." I went up to the office to return the classroom key and sign out for the day when they asked me if I could do a half day on Monday. I said, "Sure!" At least I know what I'm in for this time. Next week's assignment consists of one hour on the other 5/6th grade mixed class and two hours on Kindergarten. Wish me luck and say a few prayers for me!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors take Warning

This is the world I woke up to this morning...pretty weird, huh? I knew it had to be some kind of weather related phenomena and I was hoping it didn't mean we were going to get a freak tornado or something blowing through. Turns out the middle of Australia is made up of lots and lots of red dirt (who knew? ;D) and we got a massive wind system blow through last night and it has brought all that red dirt eastward. It was really eerie to wake up to an orange sky and no birds chirping...normally at 7:30 they are deafening!
The reddish-orange has pretty much faded- it now looks like when you add just a dab of orange paint to a bunch of white paint and mix it together, rather than a mixture of orange and red paint like it did earlier, but the wind is still howling and things are still battering against the house and the birds still aren't game to come out.
Thanks to Boyfriend for getting out of bed to take some pictures so I didn't have to!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Recluse

Rich over at fourfour was talking about how people our age have been bombarded with ad campaigns, school programs, and afterschool tv presentations all centering around kidnapping since we were little. He jokingly talks about how he was afraid to walk to the bus stop by himself until he was 12 because of it and I totally know what he means. I was born in 1984 and by the late 80s I was in school, too, and I remember stranger danger being drilled in to my head. Mix that with some Unsolved Mysteries and America's Most Wanted (my parents didn't allow these shows, but we snuck them in, thank you daytime cable tv) and I was a basketcase! I would dwell on the fact that it was only a matter of time before I was kidnapped or someone would break in to our house and murder us all. TV and school had me convinced every grown up I didn't know was a monster just waiting til I was alone to snatch me from the playground and take me far away where I would never see my family again. Luckily, I'm still here and I was never kidnapped or murdered while I slept, nor was anyone I knew, but I do think it was those early exercises to learn how to always be hyper-alert that have led me to be the panicky person I am today. I still find myself convinced that every bump in the night is a murderer/rapist waiting outside my window just waiting to get in, and that every new, slightly creepy, older person that I meet is formulating a plan on how to kidnap me as they shake my hand. I also panic when it is time to book my flights, as if it's a game of chess and if I pick the wrong one out of a set of dates and times, I will be punished with a plane crash...kindof like Final Destination or something. Anyway, thanks crappy 80s after school specials and "very special" episodes of Save by the Bell and Punky Brewster for screwing me up so completely! ;)
Edit: Another sign those 80s Specials screwed me up and turned me in to a panicky person-I thought the world was coming to an end when I woke up to an orange sky this morning. (Not really, but a good way to segue in to my next posting about the massive dust storm we had all across NSW today. Hopefully photos will be up later today or tomorrow.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Been Caught Stealing

On Friday, LC and I went to the shops (aka the Mall) with baby Lo to look for some dresses for me to wear to a friend's upcoming wedding. I found one dress that I kindof liked until I looked at the price....$70 for a little cotton blend summer dress and $50 for a knitted short sleeved cardigan...The outfit was cute, but not $120 cute! It looked like the whole thing might cost you $40-50 at Old Navy. And the sizes...I felt like a beast. I know I've gotten chubby, but I can fit in to "normal" people clothes back home (and don't give me some B.S. about Australians are skinnier/healthier/smaller whatever, my Australian readers, because just last year you guys were the fattest country in the world) and here, not so much. Also, the stores seem to make bigger sizes bigger everywhere but in the chests...bigger girls typically come with bigger boobs, but they just aren't understanding that concept here! So I'd have things that looked cute otherwise and then not fit over my boobs.
There are also about three styles of dresses right now in Australia and I am not a fan of/cannot pull off any of them: maxi dress (my legs are too stubby to look right in these), dresses that look like a wife beater on top with a stretchy belt area around the middle and short flared skirt bottom (accentuates the boobage and not dressy looking enough on me for a wedding), and strapless dresses (which my Mom has always said chubby girls and girls with big boobs should not wear strapless dresses and I agree with her, at least for on me). Even the fat girl store only offered these 3 styles of dresses. I'm all for giving chubsters some cute options and some styles do look good on people of all sizes but how about some flattering and stylish big girl dresses, too? A cute wrap dress would be great or something that had short sleeves and hit at the knee or something. The shopping excursion totally left me hating myself and was so unmotivating for the healthy eating/walking program I've been trying to stick to for the last month.

Now to the stealing referenced in the title of this posting: So we had been walking around the shops for awhile looking for dresses for me and LC needed some accessories to go with her wedding outfit. The store she wanted to hit up was tiny, like the size of a small bedroom, and was already jam packed with people and 2 shopping carts so she asked if I would stay out with Lo and the stroller while she went in. I said sure, then noticed that we were near one store where sometimes I find things I actually like/would actually buy so I told her I was going to wheel me and Lo over there to have a look and sure enough, I found something to try on (the $120 outfit I mentioned above, I just didn't look at prices before I decided to try it on). As I'm making my way toward the dressing room the shop girl goes "Oh what a cute baby, how old is she?" And I go "Uhhhh, I dunno, like 8 weeks or something?" (She's 11 weeks, oops!) And the shop girl gives me a funny look and I tell her "Oh, this isn't my baby, it's my friend's and she's in another store so she's probably going to think I stole her baby if I go try this stuff on." So the girl says, "I'll keep an eye out for her and let her know where you are" (Keep in mind this store is about the size of a master bedroom in the U.S., too. All stores are small here, no wonder I go to 20 and still walk away with nothing!) So I wheel Lo in to the dressing room and try my stuff on and wait and wait for LC to come so I can show her the one outfit that actually fits and looks kinda cute. At one point, I go to where the dressing rooms lead out in to the store because I think I hear her voice but it's not her and I figure she must be enjoying her little bit of shopping time without having to deal with a baby and a stroller. Finally, I give up and take the outfit off and gasp at the ridiculous price and go out to put it back on the shelf and to find LC. I spot her outside the store and wave to her and notice she looks a bit upset. She comes in and starts crying and says, "I thought someone stole Lo. I couldn't find you guys and thought she had been stolen!" And the shop girl is standing next to me and goes, "Oh no, she's crying" and I say "See, I told you she was going to think I had stolen her baby!" LC says, "I didn't think you stole her, but I thought when I couldn't find you in here, maybe you had turned to look at something and someone had stolen her from you and you had run away because you didn't want to tell me you had lost my baby." I say, "Thanks for the vote of confidence, friend!" And that got her laughing and feeling a bit better, but I felt pretty bad that I had made her so stressed and scared. Needless to say, I don't think LC is quite ready to leave Lo with me anytime soon!

I Miss You, I Miss You

I just got off the phone with Mom and we realized there are only 6 weeks until I am back home in CA now! The time between now and then will just fly by and I can't wait to see my family again. It'll have been nearly 9 months since I was last with them and that is about my limit of away time. When I leave, I'll be conflicted because it means nearly 2 months without Boyfriend and I'll miss him that whole time, too. That's really the life of an expat, no matter where you are, you are always missing someone you love, and because home is in two places, you are always missing one version of home, too. Here's a list of the things I am looking forward to once back in CA and a few things I'll miss when I'm there:

Getting to be in the same room with my family and hanging out and not just being on the phone with them while they are preparing Sunday dinner.

Getting to see family and old friends.

Getting to see Mom and Dad's new San Francisco apartment.

Hanging out at the beach house.

Feeling like a real family again.

Feeling normal again-not the weird American girl who says things funny and has interesting ideas on how life should work

Free refills and non-sweetened ice tea anywhere I go

Coupons for grocery shopping

Decently priced food and clothing

Old Navy, Target, H&M, American Eagle, Ann Taylor Loft, the Gilroy Outlet Malls, Trader Joe's, Safeway

Clothes that actually fit me, ditto for bras/sizes I understand

Cool Whip

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Sourdough Bread

Bisquick Mix

Real Mexican food

Sand dollars, sea otters, and sea lions


Beach walks with my Mom

Hanging out with my Sister

Treasure hunting with my Dad

Exploring the coast when Boyfriend comes

Chopping down our own Christmas tree

Hanging out in the living room watching the ocean while it rains and having a nice fire burning

Lots of variety at the grocery store

Being able to go to the grocery store or any store past 6pm

Cheap books

Watching trashy tv in real time, rather than downloading it or getting a series 3 years late (ala Gossip Girl being on Season 1 here right now)

Stocking up on all the things I need/miss through the year like clothes, makeup, and food

Getting a job and making some money

Celebrating my first Halloween in 5 years, even if they don't get trick-or-treaters way out at the beach house

Cheap manicures, pedicures, and eyebrow waxes

Pedicures where they can mess with your cuticles (they aren't allowed to trim them here, it's against the law or something...cuticle cutting is one of the best parts of the whole thing, too!)

Things I will miss about Australia:


Beach walks with Boyfriend

Waking up to Boyfriend's bright and smiley face everyday

Boyfriend's family and bbq's with all the cousins and aunts and uncles

Seeing LC and Lo and their dog Bas a few times a week

Not getting to go to the Hairdresser's baby shower/see her when her baby is first born

All of our friends, especially our adventures with Croc and the Teacher

Getting to see what happens in our garden that Boyfriend's Dad is going to give us seedlings for

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And I Just Had to Have a Cheesecake

Yesterday I laid up in bed most of the day with a raging headache and upset stomach and watched all the new episodes of shows from back home I had downloaded. I was suppose to go over to LC's house to hang out while the boys were away at the races, but wasn't sure I was up to it. I grabbed some crackers for lunch and hopped in the shower and ended up feeling much better. LC called a bit after that and asked if I was up for dinner at her place, the Runner was going to bring Thai and we'd just hang out there. So I said sure and that I'd bring dessert. I had seen this recipe on smittenkitchen.com for cheesecake brownies that I really wanted to make so I figured girls night was the perfect time to do it. I'm not as fancy as Deb from Smitten so I just used a box of brownies and made the cheesecake topping to pour over it so do it either way: her recipe that I will share below or take your favorite box of brownie mix and pour the cheesecake mixture over the uncooked brownies and sprinkle some chocolate chips over the cheesecake mix. LC and the Runner ended up loving these so much that I split the batch between them and let them keep it...better for my thighs that way and a boost to my ego that they liked them so much! These were super easy to make and I will definitely be making them for the next party we have or go to.

Image/recipe via Deb at Smittenkitchen.com

Cheesecake-Swirled Brownies

Makes 16 2-inch square, thick brownies

Brownie batter (Or remember you can always just use your favorite box recipe)
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make brownie batter: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter: Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

[I actually like using a butter knife because the tip of it is round enough that you can use it to fold bits of the brownie batter over the cheesecake batter for a more visibly marbled effect. Try it!]

Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl. Although it might be more logical to just mix them into the cheesecake batter (and feel free to do this, it will have no ill-effect) I thought it might interrupt the swirl-ability of it.

Bake brownies: Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slicing tip: I like to chill my brownies until they’re almost frozen before cutting them. It makes it much easier to get a clean slice. I also like to eat my brownies super-cold, but that’s just personal taste. (We ate ours when they were still slightly warm and they were heavenly, but these would probably be pretty great cold with that real cold cheesecake flavor)

Hope you guys enjoy these!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wake Up and Live

We're still trying to be healthy and active. I've been trying to cook lighter dinners through the week than what we were having during those cold, winter nights when Boyfriend first moved in. Dessert, other than berries, is only on the weekends now. And most importantly, we have taken this time which is hopefully the only time we'll ever both be unemployed like this until we are retired, and used it by enjoying each other's company and going on long beach walks a few times a week. Boyfriend amped it up on Monday morning by doing beach bootcamp with Croc on Monday. Then Wednesday morning I decided that while they did bootcamp, I'd do a big beach walk. It was overcast and windy, but once I got going I warmed right up and was glad to be out so early and have the beach basically to myself. Tomorrow is supposed to be another overcast morning, for which I am glad because Boyfriend said that on Monday it got really hot at about 6:30 after the sun was up, so we will be up by 5 and out by 5:30 to start our day! I'm not sure I look any different or if I have lost any weight, but I feel healthier and hills and dunes are starting to seem a bit easier to climb so I'm counting that as a victory.

After our workout tomorrow, LC is supposed to pick me up so that we can go wedding outfit shopping for a friends' wedding the following Saturday. Boyfriend is out again all Saturday for the groom's Buck's/Bachelor Party- they are going to the races and probably to Hooters afterward (I feel it's a good concession because the boys don't want to go out in Sydney/don't have the money for strippers and this way they still get to ogle some boobies!). I was going to go to the Hen's/Bachelorette Party on the same night, but didn't have $80 for the charter bus/stripper show, plus all the other money needed for food and drinks in the City and something new to wear because after nearly 8 months of not being at home and having access to lots of stores I love, my clothes are all looking pretty tired. It would've been fun and Boyfriend said he'd pay, but I can't justify that much money on one night right now.

I might have some new pictures to post in the next few days...maybe those elusive Stockton dune pictures from months ago and maybe some pictures from our beach walk on Tuesday. We went to a neat state conservation area and there were some incredible look out spots. The beach was also a nude beach and why is it only ever old, presumably gay men at nude beaches? Don't worry I don't have any old man doodle pictures to share with you, though I have now seen enough to last me a lifetime!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Little Dune Buggy In the Sand

As we were coming out of the dune area, this little guy was waiting in the road for us. He's a bearded dragon. Neat, huh? Croc spotted him just before we were about to run him over and jumped out of the car and picked him up and threw him in the bushes (check out how dirty his hands are!). It's the first time I've seen one.

The day at the Stockton dune's was fun and pretty warm. All the little watering holes (aka baby water) had dried up because of the lack of rains this winter. We saw two huge schools of salmon right off the beach and someone caught one as we were standing there and it was a good sized fish- probably about a foot and a half long. We also might have seen a shark near where the salmon were schooling! Most of the day we drove along looking for good hills to sandboard down and I had a go at the littlest hill possible while the boys were away to pick up Boyfriend from the airport. Croc's two young nephews joined us on our trip and they have a tendency to run down the huge hills as someone rides down on the board and then want to be carried back up. I got suckered in by the youngest one and carried him piggyback up half of one of the hills and he repaid me by pinching me on the fat underside of my arm and his little fingers really dug in and left me with a bruise! On the way home his nearly 4 year old self had had enough of our adventure for the day and he fell asleep on me in the most awkward way so we moved him over and his hot and sweaty little head rested against me for an hour and a half on the way home. It was the perfect day spent with friends and I can't wait to go back next year once the warm weather has passed again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's Gettin Hot in Here

It's Saturday about noon here. I've been up since about 7am since Boyfriend had to be ready for Bob to pick him up at 7:30 for their one night trip to Queensland. I've been very productive and have called my Mom for our weekly chat, done laundry, and laid out for about 10 minutes. I couldn't stay out there any longer, it was too hot and I was sweating already! Boyfriend sat out for about 30 on Thursday and he got burnt enough so that it is still red two days later.

It has been beautiful summer weather through the day here, but at night it gets cold and it gets cold fast. On Thursday night I went out back to try and see a huge possum that had just jumped between the roof of our house and our laundry room roof and I could see my breath and it was only 6:30!

Tomorrow I've been invited to go 4 Wheel Driving at Stockton (or as we all call it now thanks to Croc's nephew: The Big Sand) with Croc, the Teacher, the Soccer Player and the Hairdresser. We are leaving here before 8 and then will pick Boyfriend up at around 12:30 from one of the parking lots because he is flying in to the Newcastle airport and it is only about a 10 minute drive from there out to the sand dunes. It should be another fun day, but it's supposed to maybe get in to the 80s tomorrow so that sand is going to be hot, hot, hot! I'm bringing hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Hopefully going tomorrow will motivate Boyfriend to finally upload those pictures from our last trip there so that I can finally post them for you guys here.

Hope you guys have a great weekend!

As a sidenote: I didn't hear one mention of Sept. 11 here yesterday which seems kind of sad, like the whole world has forgotten already, but I guess life goes on and if it's not your own country that was effected maybe it's easy to forget? Do we, as Americans, do anything to remember the Boxing Day Tsunami? Or China's Earthquake? Or the anniversary of the start of the Genocide in Rwanda? When put in that context, I understand why yesterday was just another day here; there are enough tragedies that have happened in our world that we would probably have to have a rememberance day for some event every day of the year. But as an American yesterday/today home time is one of those days out of the year where I was personally effected in some way by the event so I take time out to remember and reflect on that tragedy. On the anniversary of the tsunami, earthquake, and start of the genocide people in other countries are remembering how they were effected then, and in a sense, even if it's not on the same day, we are all connected by our loss and by our hope for peace.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Little Bird

WTF Nicole Richie?!? I love you, but Sparrow? And not just Sparrow, but Sparrow James Midnight Madden? The James in his name is the only masculine part of the whole mess. Are you in a competition with Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz for most douchey baby name (Bronx Moglee Wentz "BMW" by the way if you didn't know) or something? You may have just succeeded! Maybe one day I'll teach in Hollywood and I can have Bronx, Sparrow, Apple, Coco, Pilot Inspektor, and Audio Science all in my class at the same time. I'll have my own (future potential) kids in my class, too, and they'll probably be teased for having normal names like Ryan and Bri.

In honor of Nicole and the new baby, I'm making a recipe she posted on her site and that was also featured on Gywneth Paltrow's blog (I'm totally kidding about making a recipe to honor a star giving birth, but it is a weird coincidence that I was going to make this recipe last night and we got pizza instead so I just happen to be making it tonight):

Image from GOOP.com

Carmelized Black Pepper Chicken


  1. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  2. About 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
  3. 1/4 cup water
  4. 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  6. 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  8. 2 fresh Thai chiles, halved, or dried red chiles
  9. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  10. 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  11. 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  12. 4 cilantro sprigs


  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and chiles.
  2. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

It looks damn good and I'm hoping it tastes the same!

Edit: Made the chicken and it was delicious!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Neat Little Domestic Life

While I was blogging last week about being a pile of teary and snotty human flesh after seeing Seven Pounds, Boyfriend volunteered to do the dishes for me. I thought it was a sweet gesture. He's done this before, when I've had a migraine- he made his own dinner and picked up the living room or bathroom for me. He knows that sometimes comforting words and hugs aren't going to make me feel better so he'll offer those first and then leave me alone to get over the migraine with sleep or to get over the sadness by spilling my guts to you guys on here.

After I was done writing I was going to go out and grab myself something to drink when Boyfriend yelled, "Don't come in the kitchen until I tell you to, it's a surprise!" And I said, "I'm coming in." And he said, "Don't or I'll kill you. I mean it, wait for the surprise!" So I did...I waited....and I waited...and I waited a bit more. Nearly two hours had passed since I had gone in to our bedroom to write. Finally, he called me out and our kitchen had been cleaned from top to bottom! All the dishes had been done and put away, the stove top had been cleaned, the counter tops wiped down, the recycling and trash taken out. It was as sparkling as a kitchen that is nearly 100 years old gets!

I gave him a big hug and thanked him and told him it looked great. Then I told him that "Our bathroom could also use some work" with a big, cheeky smile on my face.

I've got a good guy...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ikea: Selling Furniture for College Kids and Divorced Men

Yesterday was a really fun day. I had the best gnocchi for lunch and the restaurant we ate at was nice because they had an outside patio area overlooking the Paramatta River. It was so gross there at times, though, because apparently you are still allowed to smoke in outside dining areas in Australia. So I enjoyed my gnocchi and some nasty second hand smoke for lunch. Yuck!
Boyfriend's Mom seemed to enjoy her surprise birthday trip down to Ikea and she, Boyfriend and Boyfriend's Dad walked through every display set up in the store playing with stuff. She ended up buying some baking dishes and Boyfriend and I came home with two new pillows for the couch ($10 for the pillow and case a piece), a teeny tiny vase for my bedside table that I can pick freesia to put in for $1.50, a pack of tea light candles Boyfriend liked that smelled like apples and cinnamon and some cute, plain tea light holders (4/$2.50). Man, I love a bargain! We also had to stop in the food shop on the way out and we bought these yummy oat chocolate cookies and split the box with Boyfriend's parents, two bottles of the blueberry syrup, lingonberry jam and white sauce to go with our meatballs we bought last time (Bun told me you have to do them this way as this is the traditional and best way to have them), and blueberry soup (which kind of looks like runny blueberry yogurt). Oh, and blueberry jam. If it had the word blueberry on it, Boyfriend bought it; he went kind of nuts in the food store area!

kea ended up taking all day and we didn't get home til about 6 and we wanted something to do for the night so I messaged LC and Croc to see if there were any plans on and LC called me back and we made plans for dinner. We went to the Soccer Club the next street over from our house and had Chinese for dinner. (Sidenote: I've never seen so many "clubs" before in my life since I've lived here and they are not clubs like "let's go out to the club and dance" type places but think like mini casinos in a sense and they have them for football teams, the local soccer team, there are workers clubs, bowling clubs, golf clubs, returned servicemen clubs, etc, etc...And each seems to be successful and bring in tons of money...I live in a fairly small area and within a 5 mile radius I probably have about 5 of these different types of clubs near me!) It was crowded and smokey at the Soccer Club and LC didn't want to keep baby Lo out in it for too long so we decided after Boyfriend and I stopped at home to pick him up some beer to head over to there house to hang out for awhile. We all just talked and watched tv and it was a fun and mellow night. Boyfriend and Bob Marley planned their debaucherous bachelor party weekend coming up in two weeks time and LC and I gave them dirty looks and told them "Fine, we'll get drunk and spend your money on dresses for the wedding that day then!" I got to drive us home and you'd think I was a kid with a learner's permit because driving doesn't feel like a chore when you don't do it all the time and I was excited to drive the 10 minutes home!

Today I'm home alone as Boyfriend is at church and then going to lunch at a church person's house. It's also Father's Day here (our Mother's Days are on the same days, but for some reason Father's Days are at different times) so we are having dinner at Nan and Pop's with everyone later tonight. We got Boyfriend's Dad tons of organic seeds for his garden because he planted a big, amazing veggie garden last year and we're hoping he'll do it again this year and we even got him some artichoke seeds in the hopes that he would grow us some because artichokes are fairly hard to come by and fairly small and really expensive to buy when they are available here! I'm off to bake a bunch of cupcakes for dinner tonight and do laundry that has been piling up for the last week and a half. Happy Aussie Father's Day to my Dad, I love you! (I'm not sure my Dad even knows I have a blog and if he does, he's probably never checked it out, but minor details, just in case someday he stops by, I'm thinking about you Big Guy!) Hope you guys are having a great weekend where ever you are and if you are in the States that you are enjoying your nice long weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Don't Stop Til You Get Enough

I got a package from home today!! It contained the following items: tampons and Pop-Tarts. Man, life is good! I'm as googly eyed as the little man on the front of the box is right now. It doesn't take much to please Lil D these days and tampons with applicators (seriously Australia, why is the concept foreign? I don't think there is really even a market in the States for O.B. tampons because the non-applicator thing seems so icky) and a pack of cherry Pop-Tarts is all I need to keep me smiling for a week. Hope your day is as good as mine!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Just Ain't the Same Without You in My Life

As I write this I'm still a big, teary, snotty ball of a human. "Has something happened back home?" you wonder. Nope. "Has something happened between Little D and Boyfriend?" you might be thinking. Nope, again. What has happened is I made the mistake of watching the Will Smith movie Seven Pounds. If you haven't seen it: DON'T! I was sobbing so hard through the end of it that they were like waves rolling through my body. I'm going to spoil the movie for you if you haven't seen it, so stop reading if you don't want to know. In the end Will Smith's character is wracked with guilt over a car accident that he caused that killed seven people. To make up for what he has done he sets out to change seven good people's lives. He repays them each with a pound of flesh, which is a reference to Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". In Will Smith's character's case that pound of flesh is literal as he ends up killing himself by taking a box jellyfish in to the bathtub with him. He saves seven lives through organ donation, but makes the ultimate sacrifice and repayment of his wrongs by giving up his own life in order to do so.

I thought Seven Pounds was going to be a feel good movie and it was in the sense that seven lives were saved through the sacrifice of one man, but I hadn't read much about the movie and didn't know there was a suicide in it. This week has been pretty rough because it was the two year anniversary of Uncle B's passing. I forgot on the actual date and I usually email my pseudo cousins then and let them know I'm thinking of them and their Dad and that he hasn't been forgotten one bit so I was feeling awful about that and then my little cousin tells me no one even brought up the anniversary on the actual day so I felt even worse for her and her brother. Then I got to talking to my Mom about how the anniversary had just passed and was sad realizing that two years have passed and it still doesn't seem real. So I've just been thinking about him this week and missing him and his crazy antics and missing the little cousins and feeling super bad for them and I just didn't need a suicide movie on top of it, I guess. If you're feeling sad it really isn't the movie for you!

Anyway, I'll just close this by saying that we still love you and miss you Uncle B and I wish you were still here to inspect my boyfriends for me and call me a Rugrat and yell our last name over the fence when you wanted our attention and stop in for dinner at our house unannounced whenever it suited you and make fun of some of our prissier neighbors and I wish you were still here for your two great kids because they still really needed you and would've been so stoked to have you at their soccer games and wrestling matches. We'll never forget the fun times, the laughter, or the craziness and drama you brought to our lives. Rest in peace xoxo Oh yeah and "Stussy Rat Patrol" for life/forever!