Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm On a Boat, I'm On a Boat, Everybody Look at Me 'Cause I'm Sailing On a Boat

This past weekend was incredible! I'd say it ranks in my top 5 weekends of all time. I don't know exactly what to say so you know why I think that, it just was. It felt awesome to go on a mini vacation to a place I knew nothing about and on a trip I hadn't planned and to be doing it with MOTH Dude, Croc, and the Teacher. I liked that I just had to pack my stuff and show up and we'd figure out exactly where we were going when we got there.

We did so much cool stuff- fished, took the little boat out, knee boarded, innertubed, wake boarded, traveled up and down the river system, and hung out in the water off a sandy beach.

We also saw so much cool stuff- a baby hammerhead shark (which we threw back in the water alive but it came back and actually pulled one of the rods off the boat and got tangled around the anchor line and drowned and we didn't realize it until the next morning when we went to pull up the anchor), tons of jellyfish, and a few times a day we'd have sea eagles fly over and screech at us.

Houseboats are rad because you go out on the little boat for awhile while people were wakeboaring or kneeboarding and then when everyone's tired you just head back to your floating house to do whatever you want. It was also rad that when we got tired of where we were "living" we could say, "Next!" and find a new place to "live". If you get the chance to go houseboating, especially on the Hawkesbury River, I'd highly recommend doing it. I loved it even more than I thought I would!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yeah, Never Thought I'd Be On A (House)Boat

I was able to get my shift changed tomorrow so I'm done at 2:30 rather than 6 and you know what that means? It means I get to go houseboating for the weekend! I'm so excited! I can't wait to see what it's like and the area we are going to is supposed to be beautiful. Rain is forecasted for tomorrow but the rest of the weekend should be sunny and warm. Hopefully I'll get some good pictures and have some stories to tell when I get back.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Because I'm Still In Love With You

So the last video I posted for "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" isn't really a song that is in the running for our first dance song, but I really like it and think it is sweet and it always reminds me of MOTH Dude when I hear it.

The two songs that are actually in the running are as follows, plus reasons why we might choose them:

Reasons to choose Harvest Moon:

1. MOTH and I are both big Neil Young fans, as are my parents
2. Our wedding will be outdoors (hopefully) in Autumn and I think I've worked it out where it will be on a day that is a Harvest moon
3. For the lyrics "When we were strangers/I watched you from afar/When we were lovers/I loved you with all my heart/But now it's getting late/And the moon is climbin high/I want to celebrate/See it shinin in your eye" that speak to the love we have for each other and the feeling we want to have for our wedding night
4. It's the perfect outdoor, laid back, kinda hippie Santa Cruz wedding song

Reasons to choose You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.:

1. MOTH and I are both Bright Eyes fans
2. MOTH and I deeply love and care about each other, but we aren't all schmoopy and obnoxious about our love. We are realists and this song speaks to that in the line "Are you the love of my lifetime?/Cause there have been times I've had my doubts." There have been some roadblocks in our relationship (or should I say outside influences and circumstances?) that have seem insurmountable and I'm sure we've both thought long and hard about whether or not this is all worth it. Luckily, we have decided it is!
3. For the lyrics that remind us of our life together, like "You said you could be my dream I could have you every night/And if by morning, I'd forgotten you, well no big deal, that'd be alright/'Cause you're the reoccurring kind/You are the reoccurring kind/You never really leave my mind" since MOTH always forgets his dreams and laughs about how vivid mine are and "You're a boomerang you'll see/You will return to me" since boomerangs are Aussie, MOTH liked the little shout out to something Australia in the song
4. We were hoping that one of my good friends from grade school would come to the wedding and that maybe he'd sing this song along to his guitar for us?

Obviously we still have tons of time to work these types of little details out, but it has been fun starting to think about them!

I Will Follow You Into the Dark

Too morbid for a first dance at our wedding?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

When I Think About You I Touch Myself....And Other Stories

Working in a call center is fairly monotonous, as you can imagine. I'm only trained to move people's accounts in and out and not in billing or anything so there are only about 5-6 processes I do per day in a fairly endless cycle. I've been surprised at how many Americans and Canadians I've spoken to in the few short months I've been on the phones. They are always brief, but welcomed connections. A chance to say to someone, "Australia, huh?!?" and either commiserate with each other about some of the hardships we've faced here or bond over similar backgrounds. I've gotten advice from a woman who has recently had her first child here, away from her family and also given advice to someone who had only been in Australia for a week about the mosquitos and where to source American products and Mexican food.

Some of my calls have left me mildly amused, others in total shock and embarassment at the end of them. The mildly amusing ones include how often I am asked whether I am Irish or Filipino! I must have the weirdest Californian accent ever! Other amusing ones are any time someone goes off on me or asks for a manager when I've done my job 100% correctly. I revel in these because they make for good stories on the weekend. I cringe when I make a mistake on the job and am quick to identify a mistake and rectify it for customers and 8-9 out of 10 customers are really understanding and the other 1-2 get grumpy. When I make a mistake a customer generally doesn't try and escalate the call by asking for a manager, it's when I've done my job correctly but they don't like company policy or the law that they flip out and ask for a manager. Just recently I had a man call who's name wasn't on the account number he had provided and he wanted to speak contracts. I advised him without the account holder's permission the call could not go forward. He melted down and went on a yelling rampage for a minute or two in which I zoned in and out and then he asked, "Did I understand?" He didn't like my response when I said, "No, sir, unfortunately I do not" and he then started screaming at me and asked for a manager. I went and found one and, poor thing, she had to put up with his tirade for awhile before the account holder miraculously appeared and we were able to get her permission for the man to speak on her behalf. At the end of the call, the man asked my manager if he could offer some feedback on me. She said, "Sure" out of courtesy and he proceeded to tell her all about me and how I should be fired. She said "Thanks for the feedback" and just laughed after the call had ended. I would've loved to have listened in to exactly what he had said to her about me! I could listen to customers yell all day about the company's policies or our prices or anything like that and walk away laughing as it really has nothing to do with me personally, but I do think it's a bit unfair when we are personally attacked. What is the saying about you should only ever fight with someone who is in an equal position to fight back?

The two main calls that have stood out to me as shocking so far have been shocking for two different reasons- one turned a bit sexual and the other, the person just sunk to the lowest level to play me to get our service. In the first situation, a young man called to advise that he and his wife were separating so he needed to take over on the account. I said I could do a straight move in for his account or he could get 8% off his account if he wanted to go on contract and I said he'd also get a free 12 week newspaper subscription with the contract in his area. After some minor banter/innocent flirting/questioning, I say "Oh, I just checked and if you aren't in to the newspaper you can get a 6 month subscription to Gardening Australia, Vogue Australia, or Fishing Australia." To which he replied, "You're making me happy in my 'no-no spot'" WTF!!!!!!!!!! I just kind of laughed and brushed it off. There is then a script I have to read, legally obligated by the government to do so and offer this product, and normally I just read the first two lines, ask the customer if they want to hear more, they say no, and we set up the rest of the account. After I ask this customer if he is interested he asks if there is a lot more of the script to read. I say yep and he says, "Ok, keep reading, I'm enjoying this" which sounds creepy but he didn't say it in a husky, panting voice so I just kept going. After reading the whole schpiel he declines the product and I finish the process and say, "Just before I call through to the contracts department is there anything else I can help you with?" To which he says, "Yeah, can I get your name, number, email, where you live?" At this point, I don't want to be rude but I'm VERY flustered and I VERY loudly say "Uhhhhhhh, sorry, I'm engaged!" I hear laughing behind me and I turn and everyone in my section is looking at me and going "What the heck?" so I put the guy on silent and say "Shut Up, I'm so embarassed!" and they laugh and tease me in the background. Finally, I'm off the phone with the guy and everyone teases me as I recap the call, no-no spots and all, to them.

The other shocking call I had was a woman who was trying to play the system and get reconnected with our service after being shut off by another provider for, what I am reasonably speculating was, non-payment. I got her process set up, but she flustered me by rushing me the whole time and I made a mistake and she was just on me from that point on to hurry, hurry, she was wasting all her cell phone minutes so I didn't do as extensive of a check on her as I should have. So after I had let her off the phone, I started doing a bit more of a search on her because the call just left me feeling like something was up. Sure enough, someone by her same name had been at the property as our last known account holder and had left an outstanding amount open when they left for the other company. I talked to a manager and she said I could call the lady up and advise her that until her old bill was paid up with us, we wouldn't be providing the service for her either. The lady, we'll call her Jane Smith, said "Well does that other Jane Smith have my same birthday?" And I said, "No, but Jane Smith isn't a super common name so it'd be a pretty big coincidence that there'd be another Jane Smith as the last account holder at that address. Do you have a daughter named Jane Smith?" She said No, we discussed something further and I advised her I'd check out that issue with my manager. When I got back to the phone, I said, "Fine, we're not going to pursue this further, we'll keep the account as is. Had I caught this earlier, we wouldn't have let you open an account, but my mistake so there you go." And the woman starts sobbing, "How could you do that? How could you bring up my dead son who died of SIDS when he was only 4 weeks old 2 years before you said I was at this address? Why would you do that?" *Silence* from me as this was now incredibly awkward. Her, immediately not crying anymore, "Are you there?" "Yes, ma'am." The tears start up again, "Why would you do that to me? Bring up my dead son?" "Ma'am, I'm sorry for your loss, but we both know I didn't do that." Her, snapping back out of it immediately, "Yeah, you're right" and that was pretty much the end of the call. It just seemed so low and sick to bring up a dead child as leverage on a call and to snap in and out of crying to see if her waterworks were having an effect on me! Ugh, people are gross sometimes!

As with any job, there are plenty of lows and some highs as well. Like I said earlier, at least most weeks ensure I've got great stories to share with MOTH and my family!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Through the Years We All Will Be Together, If the Fates Allow

I've taken an unplanned hiatus from blogging recently . I've had things to write about, but not the drive to write them down. When I was unemployed and by myself all day long most days of the week, any little event seemed worth chronicling, but now that I have a job that I have to get up and go to I am too damn tired to write most nights once I'm home and I feel like the little things aren't as interesting to blog about (Do you really want to hear about my week on the phones like how one lady called me an idiot, another guy yelled at me and told my manager I should be fired, even though I followed privacy laws/company policy to a T, how I nearly acquired a Nigerian boyfriend, and how one lady turned on and off the water works and asked why I had brought up her baby that had died years ago from SIDS (which for the record, I obviously hadn't)? Hey, now that I've given the brief overview of my week on the phones, it actually does seem kind of entertaining!).

I guess the other thing that has kept me from blogging recently is that part of my tag line is about living Down Under and "having the time of my life." Recently living here has felt like more of a chore than an adventure. I'm not putting my degree to use, we live in a shack, I drive an hour to work one way while MOTH Dude takes the train two hours in the other direction everyday, and I'm missing my family like crazy.

Call me stupid, crazy, delusional, whatever, but I never thought I'd have to miss out on having the holidays with my family. Thanksgiving was depressing enough, going to work as if it was just any other day, and to think of Christmas without my family is like a knife in the heart (Oh man, sorry for sounding like some emo 15 year old, but that's what it feels like!). Add to that Nae's murky departure date for South Africa and I'm just a little ball of emotion thinking about my family right now.

The thing is, I've felt really guilty for not blogging, even though at this point I'm pretty well convinced I have about two readers-not even my Mom is following along these days! Most days, if I make it awake past dinner time, I do think about writing an entry but I haven't had anything positive to say. I think I just need to get through the holidays and I'll be better. Until I am, I'm giving myself the permission to take the pressure off. I don't have to blog if I don't have anything nice to say and maybe without the guilt, I'll suddenly feel like writing a whole lot again.

Fingers crossed I snap out of this funk sometime soon because, if not for MOTH Dude, the bumper sticker I keep seeing "If You Don't Love It (Australia), Leave It" is starting to make a lot of sense to me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Am Alright...Can You Get Me Off Your Mind?

Nothing of importance to say. Wish I had seen Alkaline Trio with my sister tonight back home in Santa Cruz. MOTH Dude gets to see them next month, but I'm missing out!

Here they are with Tegan Quinn of Tegan and Sara (you may remember last year I did a post about them, saying they are the only 2 girls I'd switch teams for, though she's looking a bit ratty/mullety in this video so don't judge her hotness on this alone).

Great song and cool dynamic having Tegan and Dan from Alkaline Trio sing it together.

Enjoy! Hope everyone has a great weekend. I'm headed out camping, fingers crossed I don't come back looking like one big bug bite-the Aussie mosquitoes seem to love my sweet, sweet American blood. I'll try and take some pictures and do a post about the trip when we're back and I've also got some pictures to post from the Beer Festival we went to last weekend held at an old prison!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tonight We're All Still Young at Heart

Image from barringtonriversideretreate.com.au

Saturday morning I woke up with a headache so bad it made my eyes water! I had to suck it up though as we had a 2 and a half hour drive ahead of us to it out to Gloucester, where the Runner and the Smooth Talker were getting married. I was able to find some headache medicine right before we left and that seemed to knock the headache out pretty well.

It was a pretty drive and MOTH and I had fun in the car and talked about how it felt like road tripping in America. We were the first to arrive at the cabins we were all going to be staying at for the night and had our pick of the 4 so we chose the one with the best view of the river below. Not long after, our bunk mates The Farmer and Tinkerbell (who hates this pseudonym and whom I still need to think up another one for) arrived and after them came LC, Bob Marley, the Hairdresser, the Soccer Player, Croc, and the Teacher. All the boys hung out on the porch drinking beer and making a trip down to feel the water while us girls took over the main bedroom of our cabin and the Hairdresser very nicely did all of our hair for us. We then got dressed and started to head out for the ceremony. I started to feel a bit headachey again before we left, but figured it was just because I was a little overheated.

The ceremony was at a beautiful hill overlooking the whole valley and town of Gloucester. The Runner teared up as she walked down the aisle and I teared up with her. It was a short and simple ceremony, but by the time it was over, I was starting to feel really sick to my stomach so I told MOTH Dude I needed to go sit in the car in some air conditioning for awhile. Being a good guy, he left the after ceremony drinks, pictures, and canapes to check on me a few times. After a while, the air conditioning just wasn't doing it for me so I stumbled out of our car and very classily got down on my knees in my pretty dress and heels and puked behind a tree. I felt better for a few minutes so I went down and joined our friends again. But then I started to not feel so great again and MOTH offered to take me in to town to try and find some medicine so I wouldn't be sick all night. We made it in to town just as the last grocery store was closing. I explained to them how I had just been sick and could I please run in for some quick medicine. They don't have much variety in grocery stores here like they do in the U.S. but we grabbed whatever we thought might help me. I took some Alka Seltzer that was supposed to be for headaches and upset stomachs. About that time, our friends arrived in town to go to the pub to wait for the reception to start. MOTH got me a gingerale and I sat outside with the girls trying to get some air. I felt bad for MOTH having to keep missing out on the fun so he went inside to play pool with the other boys. Twice I ran out to in front of the pub to try and catch a bit of breeze to make me nausea go away. Finally, (TMI coming up so beware if you're squeamish) I couldn't hold it any longer and I did 3 big heaves in to a planter outside of the pub. I'm sure I just looked like a hot mess and a bad drunk to anyone who saw, but I couldn't help it, nor could I face puking in the pub's bathroom. MOTH came out just as I finished and I started crying. I felt so awful and just wanted to go back to the cabin to lie down. He convinced me to wash my face and grab some fries aka chips to eat and that seemed to do the trick.

It was then time for the reception. It was a fun night with everyone else doing lots of drinking (I was driving, plus nothing sounded worse than drinking on top of having already been sick) and dancing and taking scandalous and funny pictures together.

There was a tiny bit of drama at the end of the night when we went to say good bye to the bride. I told her that I know I'm flakey so it may have seemed that that was what I was doing the weekend before when I missed her bachelorette party, but that I had been sick with other stomach issues. I told her about being sick that night. She didn't seem to believe me and had some issues about our cabins, as well. It was sad to see her upset on her wedding night and upset at me/the other girls(?) specifically because we hadn't actually done anything wrong and it was a shame that people were telling her crappy things about us. I guess you can't be in a group our size without a bit of drama between everyone every once in a while, though. Hopefully she came away believing what we had said, but I'm not sure. I hope to speak to her when she gets back from her honeymoon to reiterate that we didn't say anything negative about her, her bachelorette party, or her choice of accommodation for us-there was just a lot of confusion and third party misinformation.

After the reception, we all headed back to hang out at the cabin and decompress from the night. At the stroke of midnight, we roused the Farmer from his room and sang Happy Birthday to him. The rest of us made it in to bed between 1 and 1:30.

In the morning, we got up waaaaaaay too early (7:30!!) and sat out on the porch again and watched the river. We then made breakfast, packed up, and all headed down to the river where MOTH and the Soccer Player took an unintentional, that turned in to intentional, dip in the river.

I don't think anyone wanted to go and we discussed getting a big house together somewhere at the beach to share sometime soon. We then got in to our separate cars and headed home. Other than being sick and the bit of drama that unfolded, it was a fantastic weekend away!

Friday, October 29, 2010

As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti

Not a whole lot of time to go in to it in detail right now, but Nae announced to the family last week that she had applied and pretty much been accepted to a 3 year Masters program at the University of Cape Town to study great white sharks. While I am really happy for her and excited that she will finally get to live her dream full time, I'm also really sad. I obviously don't live at home, or anywhere near it, but I liked that she was there, close to Mom and Dad and keeping them young and on their toes. I worry about her safety down there and am glad to hear she is trying to work it so she won't actually have to ever live in Cape Town and actually go to school there, but instead work from the aquarium and research station that she was at a few months back. I'm selfish and am sad because I wonder if she'll still be home in May when we go back to visit and because I know her move means we'll get to talk to each other even less than we do now. I also feel badly for my parents because I think they are shell shocked by her announcement and secretly feel like bad parents because both their kids have decided to live thousands of miles away from them on completely different continents. I think the opposite is true, though. I feel like we are this super tight little family unit and it is because they are such rad parents who taught us to follow our hearts and dreams that I had the courage to make the initial trip down here and then the decision to stay and I think it is the same with Nae- if she knew she didn't have our parents' support and a safe place to return to if things didn't work out there, she probably wouldn't do something so huge to begin with. Anyway, still trying to digest it and will probably write more about it later when more of her plans are in place.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Us with MOTH's Grandpa right before his speech. It was really chilly at this point, but wish you guys could see the little bright green sweater I had on under the hoodie.

The crowd standing and watching us...intimidating right? I felt so awkward the whole 5 minutes we were up there!

Our amazing, adult sized bounce house. Bet you're jealous you didn't have one at your engagement party, huh?

Oh man, so much of the party is a blur to me! I've definitely learned my lesson and will plan our wedding schedule better so that we actually have time to enjoy our wedding and speak to everyone who has made an effort to come help us celebrate.

After going to bed at 1:30 the morning of the party and getting back up at 6:30 to keep prepping, the time until the party flew by! At 1, the party start time, the Hairdresser had just finished on putting flowers in my hair and I was still in lounge pants and had no make up on and people started arriving. This isn't California so a 1pm start time means 1pm and not 1:30 as I was hoping!

I quickly threw on my outfit and greeted anyone who came inside, but unfortunately I still had so much stuff to finish in the kitchen that I couldn't go outside to make the rounds and chat to everyone as they arrived. Luckily MOTH Dude was out there mingling for awhile, before I put him to work on the bbq.

All my girls really stepped it up and asked me numerous times what they could do to help me so I put them to work and thank god they offered their help or people would still probably be waiting on their lunch!

The food finally made it out and man can 65 people eat! I think there was just barely enough meat and a few people at the end missed out on the kick ass fried rice LC made. I felt bad because MOTH didn't get that the chicken was only for the people who didn't eat pork and the shrimp skewers were only for the veggies so I know at least one of our vegetarian friends missed out on the shrimp. MOTH got a plate of pork and sweet potatoes and I didn't end up getting anything to eat.

After people were served, we finally got to relax and I got to stop and speak to as many people as possible, but there were still many more people that I didn't get to spend time with. MOTH's grandpa always likes to give speeches at parties so MOTH and I got pulled up in front of the crowd while he gave a super short speech that didn't really have much to do about anything-awkward! But I think he had been drinking. Then MOTH and I said a quick thank you to everyone for coming out for us and to get back to partying because we were embarrassed standing up there like that in front of them all!

After that I grabbed an alcoholic slushie and hit up the bounce house. People started leaving and after a little while it was just our main group of friends. When it got dark, we put up 4 goon sacks (aka the wine bladders out of boxes of wine) and played Goon-of-Fortune. We probably had 12 people standing around the clothes line (you spin and if the sack lands on you you have to take a chug from it) and we made it through half of each sack before people needed a break. I said anyone who wasn't going to go get a soda had to go back on the bounce house and surprisingly, most people did, and even more suprising-no one got sick! We then came back and did about 20 more spins, but people must have been cheating because in the morning when we checked the sacks, they were still half full.

By 10 I was absolutely exhausted and felt like I was maybe coming down with a cold so I snuck inside and went to bed. LC came in to try and rouse me back in to party mode but I was freezing, drunk, and couldn't keep my eyes open. Everyone else stayed up until 11:30 and then went home or camped in the backyard. When we got up in the morning, our friends were gone and had majorly cleaned up our backyard. MOTH and I picked up the rest of the backyard and opened all the presents we had been given. The rest of Sunday we just took it easy.

Although the day went by so quickly, when I was reflecting on it yesterday I couldn't help but keep getting choked up. First off, I thought it was amazing that so many people came out to help us celebrate our engagement and to show their support for us. And secondly, I kept getting teary eyed when I thought of all the work our friends had done for us over the last week. All of our friends helped us make food, serve food, take pictures, prep stuff, set up the party and tear it down at the the end and then they still all got us awesome presents, too. I was/am just overwhelmed at how amazing they are and how grateful I am to have each of them in my lives.

I guess that was the point of my post two posts ago, I feel like we used to be together like this a lot more often and I miss that. Saturday felt like old times and it was so much fun!

Anyway, in 20 years time I probably won't remember a lot of the specifics of our engagement party but I will remember all the love we felt that day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Get the Party Started

We're at T -31 hours until party time people and I am in a mad panic! Somehow between Saturday and now our RSVP list has grown from 45 to around 65 people. Holy Moly! What have I gotten myself in to?

Luckily it looks like the weather gods are going to smile on us and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm. Thank goodness!

Yesterday I hit the mall to find the perfect tropical-y dress to wear for tomorrow. After 3 hours and hitting every clothing store there, I decided that maybe new jeans and a cute tank top and bright shrug would be enough. I'm a bigger girl with stubby legs and big boobs so no, those maxi dresses that everyone is carrying right now don't flatter me, nor do my only other two options in stores right now- something tight and short or something strapless. No, no, no! So oh well, I'll probably be the least Hawaiian-y looking person at my party, but at least I will be comfortable and feel cute in the outfit that I did pick out. I was trying to surprise MOTH Dude by getting us male and female style leis to wear, too, but apparently plumerias aren't in season yet so the flower shop said they'd have to use orchids and the leis would cost $80 a piece so that put a kabosh on that idea pretty quickly!!

In about 45 minutes, I'll be out the door for a 5 hour shift at work and then I'm off to shop for party supplies which includes 18 kilos of pork shoulder and 4 boxes of cask wine (for Goon-a-Fortune, of course). We brought the iconic American, red plastic cups back with us on this last trip so I might have to teach these Aussies how to play some beer pong, too! (Have I also mentioned that we are having an adult slushie machine and an adult sized bounce house?!?)

Tonight I've got 3 batches of chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies to bake, as well as 3 boxes of cake mix worth of cupcakes, and probably close to 100 bread rolls (not to mention getting that 18 kilos of pork wrapped in banana leaves and put in to 3-4 different crocpots to cook away for the next 20 hours). I'm going to be one frantic girl!

I'm off to get dressed for work and then take these next 37 hours head on. Wish me luck! I will hopefully have fun stories and maybe some pictures to share early next week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

I'm in a funk. I think 4 weekends, most of them rainy, has something to do with it. Being stuck indoors with nothing to do when you've been looking forward to the weekend the whole working week sucks and then I start to think of the perpetual sunny weather we have back home and how if MOTH and I were bored there, we could take off for a night or two in San Francisco at my parents' condo and catch a baseball game and soak in the jacuzzi and explore parts of the town we've yet to see. And then I think about how there are tons of restaurants to try and fun things to do in Santa Cruz within easy distance of our house and then I just want to pack up and go there today, right now, let's book the flights, and get sad when I know that we can't.

Where we live on the Coast in NSW is so far away from everything else. We have to drive 20 minutes to find a restaurant that is not a pub or a step above a pub and there isn't like a great coffee house to go hang out at or a pier to walk on or a downtown area where we can walk around and kill some time and then try a new restaurant on a whim. We also find ourselves in the minority with our friends because they are all grown ups with kids, where as we don't have that sort of responsibility and miss the spontaneity of calling everyone up for a big night of drinking or doing something equal irresponsible. None of my close friends from back home have kids yet and so are always available at the drop of a hat to drive an hour and a half to find a really cool Korean restaurant we've heard about or to come over for a late night jacuzzi session. And don't get me wrong, I love all of my little "nieces" and "nephews" here and playing "Auntie D", I just wish we were on the same page as our friends or that they were still on the same page as us. (And friends reading this- do not take this the wrong way, I'm not having a go at anyone for being grown ups and having babies, I'm just saying I wish MOTH and I were on the same page-wait, not that I want a kid yet, but I wish that we were all experiencing all the same stuff at once-and yeah, I guess this still isn't coming out right, but I still love you guys and love our friendships so please don't read in to this any more than me feeling sorry for myself.)

I'm also in a funk because this weekend is our engagement party and you'd be right to ask, "Why in the Hell would that put you in a funk, weirdo?" Once again, the stupid weather- we're having an outdoor, Hawaiian luau themed party and it'll have to be postponed or people will have to huddle, shivering under tarps in our backyard if the rain doesn't clear out by Saturday (so far the forecast is saying it's here to stay). We've been so on top of planning for it and looking forward to having everyone over to help us celebrate and now we're both stressed and cranky that it's not going to work out the way we had hoped. I think we both need this party as a way of forgetting all the negativity that was involved when we initially got engaged and to remind us of just how many people are actually rooting for us. And speaking of people who are rooting for us- my parents and my sister can't make it out for the party, which is understandable, but I still really, really wished they could have been here with me.

So yeah, look at me...Little Miss Ray of Sunshine! Is it any wonder I haven't been blogging lately??

Sorry for the negative post. Fingers crossed for nice weather on Saturday so I actually have something interesting and fun to write about.

Friday, September 24, 2010

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Hello Lovelies!

I'm loving my 25 hour work week. I went to the gym when I got done at 1 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and went for a walk on the beach Tuesday morning when I didn't start until 1. It was beautiful down at the beach and I just wanted to run home, put on my bathing suit, and head back down for a swim and to bronze!

Thursday I didn't have work until 1, either, but I used the morning to see the doctor and to finally set up a joint checking and savings account for MOTH Dude and I. It's our start at saving for our wedding and a house someday and so we have money to travel to California in May and have money to buy presents at Christmas. I feel so grown up and responsible having more than $50 in an account on purpose. My sister is the saver and I'm the spender, but I'm loving seeing the money sitting in the account and thinking about the bigger picture of what it will be used for.

The reasons for the doctor's visit were a) (sorry probably too much info) I've been getting really bad stomach cramps for forever now- You know the type where it feels like you really, really need to go?- but it's not because I have to go so I know they aren't normal and I'm sick of getting them so I wanted to ask the doctor about how they diagnose people for I.B.S. He told me it's basically a process of elimination so the first thing he did was test me for celiac disease since my grandpa had it. I hope it's not that because I don't want to give up baking or sourdough bread or tortillas! He said he'd call me within the week if my test came up positive so fingers crossed that that is not the problem. And b) I randomly read about this diet drug called Phentermine on the internet last week and decided I needed it. Fortunately, the doctor agreed and I'm now on the lowest dosage to see if that helps me. It's a low level amphetamine so it's supposed to make your appetite go away and give you lots of energy. Maybe it takes a while to kick in because I've taken 2 doses so far and I'm still hungry and I'm contemplating taking a nap right now. I go back in a month to see how much weight I've lost and the doctor can give me a higher dosage if I need it. I figure I won't be lazy and I will still try and eat less and eat healthy and stick with the gym 3 days a week and I'm excited to see if this medicine helps facilitate my weight loss. The only side effects I have found so far are I'm extremely thirsty all the time (but I guess that's ok because I'm now drinking even more water than I normally do) and last night I woke up a hot, sweaty mess. Like so hot and sweaty, that my underwear and part of my shirt were soaked! (Thanks for sharing that image, right??)

So please keep your fingers crossed for me and send your skinny thoughts my way! I'm really excited and motivated at this point and want to keep the momentum up. One thing that is helping with keeping me motivated (other than the fact the fact that I don't want to look like a total beach whale in our engagement party pictures) is that one of my friends, Adam (real name so you can cheer him on), is a contestant this season on The Biggest Loser! Everyday that I go to the gym, I don't really want to go, but I keep giving myself the pep talk that the time I spend on the bike or the elliptical machine is probably like half of Adam's warm up for the day so if he can do it, then so can I!

Well, that's about it from here for now. Hope you all are having a great weekend (and enjoying the great weather if you're here in NSW or back in CA!).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feel the Silence

Still not a lot to write about around here. It's amazing how the weeks are flying by now that I'm working. Sure, each day feels long, but I get to Friday and wonder where the week has gone. So yeah, work, work, work and then it's the weekend and we have been having some pretty lazy Saturdays where we fit in a trip to the beach for a walk or to sit up on the cliff and read and then grab some dinner. Last Sunday we had our friends over for a barbecue but it wasn't anything wild- just sitting around eating and talking.

We finally ordered our engagement party invitations last Saturday and they were here by Wednesday so I need to get on mailing those out. I'll try and get MOTH Dude to do some Photoshop magic on them so you guys can see what they look like. We really like them because they look like postcards from Hawaii and our engagement party is luau themed. I should probably try and do some trial runs on all the recipes I've found before I make them for 80 people because I wouldn't to have gross food that nobody touches on the day. I'm a little bit nervous to try and cook for so many people with our tiny little stove, but luckily most of my girls have said they'd be willing to pitch in a make a dish or two! I really wish my parents and Nae could come out for the party and for a visit, but it's just not going to happen so I'm sad about that and know they are, too.

Anyway, sorry for the snooze-fest that is my life these days and sorry for the lack of postings, but as you can tell, there isn't much to post about. I'll try and get the invite up soon and share any Hawaiian recipes we end up loving.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Beautiful Boy

Awwww! (By the way, is that the right "awwww" to use or do I mean "ahhhh"? I can never remember) I'm awwwwing, in a good way, because last night I got to cuddle with the newest member of MOTH Dude's family. His name is Landen and he is 3 weeks old. I was really nervous to hold him because he looked so tiny and breakable but I'm glad I did because he just laid there sleeping and yawning and smelling so warm and clean! Not that I want to wake up a thousand times a night yet or deal with diapers or push a watermelon sized thingy out of my thingy, but holding Landen made me want a baby, or made me want a baby some day. I want to make something so little and perfect with MOTH (Does this mushiness make you gag like it would me if I were the one reading your blog and not the other way around?) but as MOTH explained to one of his cousins last night when asked if babies were on the books for us: "Someday, but the book is a very long book, like Lord of the Rings long, and babies are somewhere near the back page." Oh man, does he crack me up! So until we're ready for our own little LARVAE Babies, it's nice to cuddle the littlest baby in the family and play with the other babies (2, 2, and 3) and watch them all slowly grow and change. I love all our baby cousins, but I also love that if they are stinky, hungry, or crying I can give them back!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Falling In Law-ve With You

Does anyone else come back from their in laws absolutely exhausted? I always do because I feel like I'm walking on eggshells the whole time I'm there. The MOTH Parents and Brother aren't my biggest supporters and I'm the type of person who likes to be liked so I always feel like I'm on my guard the whole time I'm with them so I say the right thing, and more importantly, don't say the wrong thing. They don't give me a horrible look if I say the wrong thing or anything, don't get me wrong, this is on me, not on them, but once again, I want them to like me because they are the most important people in MOTH's life besides me. And if I do say the wrong thing, I get that bad feeling way down deep in my tummy and wonder how long my comment, that wasn't said to offend, just said without thinking or said because it is my actual opinion on something, will be held against me. (Once again, maybe they don't like the comment for a minute and then they forget it and don't hold it against me, I don't know for sure either way, but I hold on to it and worry about it.) I hope it gets to the point where a) they do like me or b) I get over caring what they, or anyone else think about me. It gets a bit overwhelming and I ruin the night for myself because MOTH just walked in and said what a nice night he thought it was and I'm sitting here wondering if this stupid comment I made to his brother about a grudge he held against me for two years over a lighthouse in Hawaii will now make him (Bob, the brother) mad at me for another 2 years when we have been getting along really nicely for the past few months. Then MOTH asked me if I was bored there at the end of the night and I burst out crying, because I had just been writing this and when he said it, I thought, "Great, I wasn't bored, but if I looked it, there's another tick against my name." (Luckily he cleared it up by saying I didn't look outwardly bored, he just knows me well and was wondering, but even if I had been bored, no one else but him would've been able to tell so Phew! bullet that wasn't even a real bullet has been dodged and one less thing about tonight I have to stress about.) Ugh, I do it to myself, but at the same time, if I didn't know that they didn't really like me, I wouldn't feel like I'm having to prove myself every time I see them. Anyway, I think it's time I called it a night. Feel free to share any in law stories or mishaps with me to cheer me up! (By this I mean PLEASE, PLEASE share any in law stories or mishaps with me!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

But I Can See You, Your Brown Skin Shining In the Sun

Hi, My name is D and I'm getting kind of old, I'm practically married, and I'm boring. At times to realize those three things about myself kills me, but this weekend I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Friday night MOTH Dude brought home a pizza that we scarfed down while watching NCIS (man, do I hate that show!) and Law and Order SVU. I think we were both passed out by 11:15.

Saturday we were up by 9 and I headed off to the RTA to get my car registered while MOTH went and borrowed his parents' lawn mower. After the RTA, I went grocery shopping and came home to clean out the fridge (ick) and make bruschetta for lunch. MOTH Dude worked for hours on the front and back lawns and came in exhausted just before sun set. We took a ride out to the local light house and then to our favorite local beach where we spotted 2 whales just as it was getting too dark to see. When we got home, I made us a delicious dinner of garlic shrimp and scallop pasta and we had some fancy ice cream for dessert. After watching a movie that ended at 8:30, I hopped in to bed and looked at funny wedding ideas and MOTH came in and we had the lights out and were passed out at about 10:30.

Sunday MOTH decided not to go to church so he sat outside in the sun reading while I baked chocolate chip banana bread and finished the last of our laundry. It was only about 11:30 when I finished so I made us a quick lunch and we got in to our bathing suits and laid out for a few hours. Aussie Bronze-a-thon 2010 has begun! Later in the afternoon, I went in to do my weekly baking to take to the grandparents' house and then we headed out for our weekly drinks with our friends.

So yeah, riveting stuff right? I know it wasn't because I lived it. And while Saturday was a pain in the ass with all those chores to do, I wouldn't have traded that Sunday with my Boo for anything!

Oh wow, ok, I'd better get going as it's 10 to 9(pm) and I still haven't started dinner (Sloppy Joes-you Aussies don't know what you're missing!) and whenever MOTH gets in, he'll starving and I'll feel bad for not having it ready.

Tomorrow night is our monthly family dinner with just MOTH's parents and brother and maybe his new gf so woohoo! no cooking for me(although after just seeing them last night at the grandparents' weekly dinner, all this family time does get a bit overwhelming)! Sunday is Father's Day in Australia (though isn't it weird that Mother's Day is the same day in both places??) and we have no idea what to get the MOTH Dad. Would love any gift suggestions for the man who doesn't have a whole lot of hobbies (other than gardening and I think we've already bought him every gardening related thing over other birthdays and Father's Days) and is super hard to shop for!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I've Been Workin On the Railroad

I mean a call center is kind of like a railroad, right??

I'm sorry my life has been boring lately. Well, I've done some fun stuff like the hanging with Turk and Stylez on Friday night and then the big camp oven dinner with our main group on Saturday night, but when I get home most nights I'm too tired to put pen to paper, so to speak, and share it with you all.

So here is a quick recap of the weekend and my life in general:

My Car- I have finally paid MOTH Dude back for the car itself and for the transfer fee. I was feeling good, like I was nearly out of debt, and only had to pay him back for Third Party Insurance ($533), when my car needed to be inspected to get it re-registered ($36), then MOTH's Mom was in a tizz that I didn't have comprehensive insurance ($473), which I had been planning on getting but had kept forgetting to sign up for, plus the actual cost of re-registering the car (which I'm told could be around another $400) so now I'm back to owing MOTH Dude nearly as much as I paid for the damn car! The speaker on one side is really tinny and fuzzy so I think it is on it's way out and will need to be replaced and MOTH's Dad thinks it could use some new tires. This is all I see right now: $$ followed by this (-) symbol in my bank account.

Friday- I raced home after getting off at 3:30 (gawd, I hate those early morning wake ups, but love being done with work with a few hours of sunlight left) and stopped at the store because I wanted to make Mud Pie to bring for dessert at T and S's. Then I traveled out to Gosford (about 40 minutes away) and got lost a few times before finally making it to Stylez's parents' house. I wish I could've seen it during the day- they are right on the water and apparently have a sail boat and everything! They have great style, too, so I see that it is something Stylez inherited. It was a pretty mellow night and nice to sit around and catch up with them for awhile. I love seeing them in their new role as parents, but it's also refreshing to see that being mom and dad doesn't define them, etiher. At 11, my eyes were getting super heavy and I knew we had a long drive ahead of us so we hit the road.

Saturday- MOTH and I slept in until about 9 and then MOTH went to look at a car he was thinking about buying. He brought it back to the house and my opinion was that we shouldn't get it. I thought he was mad at me for saying so, but when I told him that when he got back from dropping it off, he said he wasn't at all and that he valued my opinion and that's why he asks for it (awwww). We then hit up the farmers market and had lunch in the sun at a place across from the market. After that we drove home and I passed out for a nap. MOTH read out in the sun for awhile, before coming in and passing out, too. I got up and made these cookies that everyone LOVED. I was so surprised because sometimes our friends seem to be so-so on the desserts I make, even the ones that are a hit back home, but no one could get enough of these cookies so I highly recommend them. I doubled the dough recipe, still only used 1 cup of dark chocolate chips, and broke about 15 oreos in to 4ths or 5ths. When the cookies were ready, we headed over to Croc and the Teacher's place and I'm usually not big on camp oven dinners, but they have perfected their recipe! The chicken was well seasoned and perfectly cooked and the Teacher made homemade stuffing, the only I've had since I've lived in Australia and it was so yum! Everyone else was raving about the roasted beef and MOTH said the same, that they have really perfected their technique because it was the best he's had so far. It was good to catch up with everyone and have us all together in a group, since we hadn't really done so since Baby Lo's birthday in July. We told some ghost stories and kept warm by the fire until about 12:30 and then MOTH and I headed home.

Sunday-MOTH slept in until about 10. I got up at 8 and called my Mom for our weekly chat, which is something I always look forward to. Have I mentioned how she and my Dad won us a wedding cake a few weeks back at a charity event? They bid on it in a silent auction and got it for a great deal. It's a 3 tiered cake and the lady has even been on Oprah and Mom said that the cake is delicious, as well as good looking. After MOTH got up, I headed to the grocery store and he finished up some work. We then went down to the Dam Motel for our weekly Sunday drinks with our friends, though this week it was only Croc and the Teacher, as Tinkerbell, the Farmer, and Junior were at a family barbecue. We talked a lot about Croc and the Teacher's upcoming road trip to Cape York, which is at the very top of Australia in far north Queensland. It sounds like a big trip and an exciting adventure for them! After we had had a few drinks (including the worst margarita I had ever had-it tasted like the guy had poured that liquid smoke flavoring in it-gag!) we headed home and just had a relaxing night in front of the tv.

So that was my week in a nutshell. I've got a couple of early morning shifts over the next few days and I'm hoping to come home and walk on the beach. We don't have anything planned for the weekend yet except for some major cleaning as our property management company is coming in to inspect us in a week or so's time. I'm sure something will come up for us to do and if not, it will be nice to veg out at home with my Boo. Hope you're all having a great week, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good Morning (Head)ache, You're Like an Old Friend Come and See Me Again

Monday was my last day of training and by the end of the day my head was killing me to the point where I was feeling nauseous. I was ready to go home and hoped that I wouldn't have to pull over and puke on my drive home. MOTH Dude had his late night meeting that night so I went home and slept for an hour and woke up feeling better, even more so after I had a nice, hot shower. I made us a really good dinner and was just finishing it up when MOTH got home. He had some exciting news about a tentative job offer he had received for after his current contract is up, but he also had to create a mini website as proof of what he was capable of...that night, even though he hadn't gotten home until 9:30!

After dinner my headache really started to kick in again so I wished MOTH good luck and passed out. He came to bed at 12:45 (poor guy) and woke me up on accident. My head was still really hurting, but I figured I just needed good, solid sleep and I would be fine in the morning. We both got up at 5:30 (once again-poor guy! I don't know how he survives on so little sleep) and while he got in the shower I laid in bed willing my head to stop hurting and my tummy to stop churning. Eventually MOTH Dude had to leave for the train and I decided there was no way I'd be able to sit in the loud call center all day and talk to customers with my head like it was so I got back in to bed and then called in sick once the center opened. Company policy is that I don't get any paid sick days for the first year (I think) and if I take any time off, I have to provide a sick note.

So after calling in sick and sleeping a bit more, I went to find a medical center that would take walk-ins. After being turned away at one nearby, I went to one further away, where I had been treated for my awful spider bite last year. They said they only took walk-ins when it wasn't busy (and just my luck, it was) BUT that she had an appointment time for 10 minutes from then*! I saw the doctor and explained to him how I get migraines, but that this wasn't as bad as a migraine, just below the level of one, and that I had had it for 16 hours. He asked if I was feeling achey and I have been and so he told me he didn't think it was a migraine either, but the start of the flu. Which thinking about it now, makes sense since two of the girls in my training group have been super sick over the past week. Anyway, off I went with my doctor's note excusing me from work for yesterday and today and a prescription for some hardcore codeine pain pills. I picked up my prescription and some ginger ale and have been lying in bed pretty much ever since.

I made MOTH dinner last night and had a tiny bowl and was starting to feel ok. I woke up today with a bit of a headache and decided that since I had the doctor's note that covered today, as well, I might as well use it to my advantage and take some more meds and rest it off, which I am glad I did because my headache has been fluctuating in intensity all day and the queasiness is back...fun! Hopefully I'm feeling better tomorrow since I don't have a doctor's note for then and because it's another 5:30 wake up day since work starts at 8. I'm excited to see how my first day on the phones go and don't want to ruin it with a headache or nauseousness. I can't even take my meds tomorrow, if I do wake up with a headache, since the codeine makes me a little loopy and really sleepy. Anyway, I guess this was a long, boring post just to say I've been sick...sorry! Might have more exciting things to write about after the weekend since we are maybe have dinner with Stylez and Turk on Friday and having a non-election party on Saturday night with the group.

Looks like it might be meds and nap time...Oh wait, did my neighbor just decide to start sawing outside my window?? Awesome!

*How great is it that a) I got the appointment b) I only had to wait about 15 minutes past the appointment to see a doctor and the whole waiting room was PACKED and c) since I now have an Australian Medicare card, I saw the doctor for $20 and that was all I'll ever have to pay? Note to America: A nationally subsidized healthcare system can work and can work really well!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Don't Care How Fat or How Skinny, Just Give Me Something To Love

I have survived training at work and even my first, full day on the phone! With the end of training comes a new schedule and some days I will be off at 3:30 so I think it is time to put my free gym membership to use. I won't say I've ever enjoyed the gym, but I do feel accomplished and proud of myself when I make it a regular part of my routine. LC just posted the pictures she took from the sand dunes last weekend and there was a shot of my ass that made me never want to eat again and with our engagement party 2 months away, I'd like to like the pictures of myself from that day so yeah, me and the gym need to become good friends again!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Song of the Gremlin

Hey All (or Few, which ever the case may be)! I had my first major assessment at work today to see if I'd be competent to go on the phones and start taking real calls this afternoon and I was, but didn't feel like it! I like being really good at everything and when you're brand new at something, you typically aren't going to be really good at it yet so it has been hard for me to let go of being perfect and to just trust myself that I know what I'm supposed to be doing and just do it. Doing the real calls this afternoon was nerve wracking and my first call was a big mess because the person who had helped the customer before didn't set stuff up right so it really threw me off my game, but the next 3 calls I took, while maybe a bit clunky in delivery, turned out alright. We have more training this week and then Monday we will be on calls all day so I will get lots of practice then!

Have I mentioned we bought me a car? We got a super sweet deal on a 1996 Subaru Impreza and it's got low mileage on it, air con, and is an automatic so I'm a happy girl. MOTH Dude bought it and offered to just buy it outright or pay for half of it, but since we got it for such a good deal, I told him I'd pay him back the full amount. It's not very much money to pay back, BUT it feels kind of cool to make my first big purchase and pay it off with all of MY own money. I feel like a grown up kindof.

We have not really been up to much around here. MOTH Dude and I both seem to be exhausted from work on the weekends and taking it easy. We did go up to the Stockton Sand Dunes with Bob Marley, LC and Lo on Sunday to test out Bob's new 4 wheel drive. It was a lot of fun. We did a little bit of sand boarding and I had two big stacks and hurt myself on the first one. Luckily there were no broken bones, but I reckon I've bruised some deep tissue inside my boobs and I think I jarred my jaw a bit because it hurts pretty badly when I yawn. I also managed to knock the wind out of myself. I didn't learn my lesson though because I took a running leap down another hill, only to not have the board slide down the hill with me! Oh well, something for everyone else to laugh about, I guess :)

So anyway, on to the reason my post is titled what it is: At work there is a girl who works as a hairdresser on the weekend and she met up with one of her other friends who is a hairdresser on Sunday for dinner. Her friend tells her this story and when she told it to us at our work on Monday morning, I was dying! It seems her friend was working on a client when the client received a call from her mentally disabled teenage son while she was in the middle of having her hair dyed. Her hair was up in the foils and just waiting to set when he called and said, "Mom, Mom, Mom! I've caught a gremlin!" And the Mom says, "What do you mean you've caught a gremlin?" And the son says, "I caught a gremlin Mom, don't worry, I saw it and I caught it." So the Mom starts to get really nervous and tells the hairdresser she needs to rush home, right away, no matter that her hair is still in the foils. The Mom gets home and looks all through the house for her son and the "gremlin" but can't find them. Finally, she goes out to the garage where she finds her son and his gremlin, which turned out to be there postman who is a midget! The son was proud and said, "See Mom, I told you I caught a gremlin!" The Mom untied the postman who was not too happy about the situation and apparently he is now going to sue the family!

While the whole suing the family is not funny and while it must have been a very embarrassing situation for the postman, I just laugh every time I think of how proud the son must have been when he showed his Mom the "gremlin" he had caught!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rude Boy Don't Cry

So today I was excited because I didn't have to wait for MOTH Dude to get home from church to go and do our weekly grocery shopping, I could just hop in his Mom's car and head down when I wanted and I didn't have to rush looking for work clothes since I was by myself. It was nice to have that freedom of just hopping in a car and going where and when I liked. I have really missed that independence. That independence will continue indefinitely now because yesterday MOTH Dude and I ended up buying the car we had gone with his parents to look at. (Well, I guess we haven't technically since we haven't got the car yet or given the guy the money, but we said we'd take it and it's ours when the guy is ready for us to take it, which will hopefully be sometime over the next few days.)

Anyway, as exciting as that was/is, that's not what this post is about. So yeah, I go down to our local mall to look for work clothes and do grocery shopping. I am all stoked because I end up finding tons of tops that I want for work and only go over budget by $10-$15 dollars. I got a bit overheated trying so many clothes on in the dressing room so I was a bit flustered as I was wondering around Target looking for dress socks for MOTH Dude when I ran in to Croc and the Teacher, but we had a good chat and made plans to get a drink later. Then I get my grocery shopping done and I spent about $50 less than we normally do so I was feeling good about that. I picked up some lunch to bring back for us and I head out to the parking lot to load up my groceries and zip home to bake cupcakes for Sunday Family Dinner. I get to the car and pull my cart close in so it's not in the road and someone is pulling in to the empty spot next to mine and it's a minivan and the woman is having a bit of trouble getting in to her spot. Then I hear her husband, in the passenger seat, say something like "It's because of how this idiot next to us has parked." I say "Sorry" just on reflex and think, "Geeeeez, that guy is RUDE" and then I think "Hang on, I double checked when I pulled in to this spot that I was between the lines so I wouldn't inconvenience anyone and I was able to get out of my car with a car next to me easily, what is this guy's problem?" So I double check, and sure enough, I'm in between my two lines. I am favoring his side between my two lines, but I'm still not even on the line at all. So I wait for him to get out of the car as I load my groceries, but he doesn't. I finish up and walk up to my door and look in his window and say "Excuse me, Hi, was it me that you just called an idiot?" And he said something like "Yeah, I guess so" or "Yeah, it'd seem so" and I say, "Well, just so you know, I'm parked between my two lines, I'm not over." And that seemed to get him flustered and he just goes "Yeah, well.....grumble grumble grumble" His wife must have been so embarrassed for herself to be married to a douche like that in that moment because she didn't say anything to defend him and it was the wife who was driving and parking the car. Anyway, I would've loved to have written "douche" on the back of his minivan in the dust on the window or thrown my Sprite on the car, but I figured just calling him out on his unfounded rudeness probably made him feel like a jackass anyway so I left with the upper hand. Plus, I had to feel sorry for the guy: he was dressed in sweatpants with the scrunchy bottoms and a fake Ed Hardy looking shirt at 2pm at the mall, which is probably punishment enough in and of itself!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

Uh Oh! I've been noticing in my Google Analytics that I have been getting lots of hits under search terms like "juggalos" and "the gathering" based on this post I wrote in October of last year. I hope I am not about to be flamed by any juggalos or juggalettes! I'm scared!

I'll Be Home for Christmas...

Except I won't be.

It also doesn't look like it is worth it for my family to come out here after Christmas to visit me either. I assumed there would be no way in Hell I'd be able to take a month off around Christmas being the low man on the totem pole at my new job, but I never imagined that from a week or so before Christmas all the way to the beginning of February would be off limits! But they are. I also found out that although I may only be scheduled for 20 hours a week, I won't ever be able to bang those out over, say, three 7 hour shifts; I'll be expected to work five 4 hour shifts. So if my family came out, I wouldn't be able to take a week or two off, like I was planning, to hang out and maybe go to Tasmania or drive the Great Ocean Road with them and I also wouldn't be able to get my work done early in the week on the other weeks they are here and then have Thursday and Friday to play tour guide.

I was so upset when I found this out on Tuesday. I've never not had a Christmas with my family to begin with, but I had prepared myself for that, and thought I'd just have a later Christmas celebration with them*, and then to find out that that wasn't really even an option, I wanted to cry. Then a few people in my training group start talking about how they were told we weren't allowed to take any time off over the next 12 months of our contract, I really did start to cry when I called MOTH on my lunch break to fill him in! I talked to the trainer later that afternoon and the good news is is that we are allowed to take vacation after we have been at the company for 6 months so yesterday I got her to block out most of May for me and that is when I will be going home. I can't believe I will have to wait a year (from when I flew out here) to see my family again, but I guess it's better than not being able to see them for a year and 3 months!

So yeah, not a good start to the week really, but I'm trying to deal with it and a lot can happen between now and December so we'll see what happens. On a positive, I already got paid on Wednesday and will be using part of that money to buy some more work clothes this weekend since I've realized 1) I don't have a ton of clothes to begin with and 2) Hardly any of the stuff I do have is "work wear". Tomorrow or Sunday MOTH and I are hopefully going to go have a look at a family friend's mother's car and hopefully it will be the one for me. All I know so far is that it's a late 90s Subaru, it's an automatic, and the price is right. MOTH and I have said for years now that we want a Subaru Outback when we can afford one so it'll be sweet to start working our way up through the Subaru models now!

*MOTH's immediate family doesn't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons so it's not a situation where you can say "Suck it up D, lots of people have to rotate Christmas between each spouse's family," there just won't be a Christmas celebration at all, at least not with his parents or brother, though I'm hoping he'll still want to celebrate with me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Try to Keep Awake

I'm alive! I've survived the first two days at work, but I am bone tired by the time I leave. I am just at home now for a quick minute to bring in the trash cans, do some dishes, and have a quick check of my emails and now I am off to MOTH Dude's parents house for dinner so I don't really have time to update about how it's all going. I got some good news and some bad news today, work related, so I will hopefully be able to share it all with you tomorrow since I should be home by about 6:30 and dinner will be made since I'm throwing it all in the CrocPot in the morning before I leave so I'll fill you guys in then. Sorry for super long run-on sentences, the brain is fried right now! Until tomorrow then...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Am I Just Wasting My Time

Just a quick check-in. I'm about to make a super fast dinner and then we are off for our weekly trivia night with Croc and the Teacher and Croc's Parents. It's my last week of being unemployed and I've used it to be lazy. I created a budget for MOTH and I and we have super cool categories like "wedding" savings account and "future home" savings account and I'm actually excited about saving...woooo! Tomorrow I'm buying supplies for Christmas in July which is being held Saturday night at the Hairdresser's and the Soccer Player's. I'm going to make these really delicious apple spice cookie bars, attempt cheesecake bars, and also this drink called Wassail, which sounds like Sangria warmed up. I was going to try and make egg nog and real homemade stuffing, but then I figured I was probably getting a little ahead of myself in all that I could accomplish in a day with a tiny kitchen and oven. I can't wait for us to put on our dorky Christmas shirts, we got from Target in the States, Saturday night! Thinking about Christmas in July makes me think about real Christmas and it looks like I might be spending my first ever Christmas without my family this year since I'm sure I won't be able to take off work/afford to fly over on Christmas prices, but I'm already sowing the seeds for my family to come out after the New Year, when Nae is able to get time off from Trader Joe's (they laughed when she told them she wanted to come at Christmas). It'll be sad not to be there on the actual day with my family and doing all the baking with them on Christmas Eve, but it would be really cool to have them come out here and hang at the beach for a couple weeks. I think I'm going to start researching things to do in Tasmania and along the Great Ocean Road because I bet everyone would be excited to do either, including MOTH who hasn't been to/on either one! Anyway, I'd better shake a leg and get dinner going because once MOTH gets here, we have about 10 minutes max to chow it down before we are out the door. Oh and fingers crossed, I found a car I might buy; it's used and I can't see it til Sunday so that's why we are crossing our fingers-that it is still available then and that we like it when we see it. Ok, off now for real!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Born in the U.S.A.

What a timely piece of writing. MOTH was just talking to our friends at Lo's birthday party about how flaky Americans are. I used to be and some of my friends back home have been and will always be big flakes. I used to not think it was a big deal, it was just what people did. Well, here they don't and it's super rude to flake out on plans. Our friends raised an eyebrow when we were 45 minutes late to Lo's party, in California that is what we call on time for a party! I've gotten better about being on time to things here because I don't want people to feel like I'm being rude and if I make plans, I never flake on them unless I am sick/injured.

Anyway, Elsja made a comment on Facebook today about how Australians are so much better at getting back to her than Americans are and one of her friends posted this article in response. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it made me, recalling all the times I've flaked.

Are Americans Flaky?
Anonymous European

Ok, listen up Americans. You are far too flaky. Californians, you are at the vanguard of flakiness. Well done. And San Franciscans, you would have won all the gold medals at the Flaky Olympics if you had bothered to show up for the awards ceremony.

This is how we do things over in Europe:

We don't say "let's hang out some time" unless we actually mean it.

If we say "I'll call you tomorrow" we call you tomorrow.

If you leave us a voice mail asking us to call you back, we call you back.

We don't break plans at the last minute, leaving you hanging.

When we say we're excited about your event, thus creating emotional investment on your part in our attendance, we then take the trouble to actually show up.

We remember birthdays.

We attend our friends' events to show that we care about them. We don't treat them like just another entertainment option.

If you're off work sick, we call you to see how you're doing.

We at least aspire to examine our behavior through your eyes. It's called empathy and it's a pretty basic human interaction.

We make friends for life.

If you want us to be your friends (and let's face it, you know you do. You love our accents), you're going to have to try harder. Otherwise we'll all go back to Europe and live in a castle with a crocodile-filled moat in Luxembourg. And when you come to visit we won't lower the drawbridge and will instead taunt you from the ramparts. And nobody likes that.

PS If you're not flaky, please disregard the above. It's aimed at the other 90% of your countrymen. If you merely claim you're not flaky, keep in mind that almost all flakes claim this. So you probably are.

-Anonymous European

From http://www.andrew-woodward.com/Articles/are_americans_flaky.html

Monday, July 12, 2010

Motionless Wheel Nothing is Real Wasting My Time In the Waiting Line

Still waiting to hear back on the job. I got a call from the recruiting company on Friday morning that woke me up asking about the people I had put down as references, making it seem as if he had given them a week and they still hadn't gotten back to him. I explained that Monday was a holiday in the States so maybe people had the week off and I'd email them to see if they had gotten the email from the recruiter. Well, I open up my email and there was an email from one of my references asking what type of role I had applied for so she could use key terms about me suited to the role. She had gotten the email that morning when she got to work and started on it then and there. This guy knows he is emailing people in California, does he not understand how time zones work? E said she emailed the form back to him that night, which he probably got when he came in to the office yesterday and since then I haven't heard anything from him. So I still don't know if I've gotten this job or not. It's been a loooooooong process though! I've started to check the job boards again just in case this one doesn't come through. It's frustrating having it all be up in the air for so long. My bank account is getting painfully low again and I would love to not have to depend on MOTH Dude solely for money. I mean, we share our money and don't keep track or anything, but when one person isn't bringing in ANY money, it's pretty obvious who is doing most of the "sharing".

Friday night I made Thai Yellow Curry with Chicken and we watched "She's Out of Your League". Saturday MOTH Dude got up before me and read out in the yard. I got up and wrapped Lo's birthday present and then we were off to her party. We got there about an hour late, but even still ended up being there from about 12:15 to 8:30! She seemed like she had a great day and it was so cute to watch her smash a whole chunk of cake in to her face. We came home and were exhausted and asleep by about 10:30.

Sunday Moth got up before me again (miracle!) and was out in the yard reading when I woke up. I went on Facebook to check something my Mom had posted when Tinkerbell messaged to see what we were up to later. I had felt bad because the night before she left the party with Junior at around 6 and I said if we were going out later, I'd be the DD and come pick her up and she seemed excited to have her sister-in-law watch Junior and have a night out, but then we all got old and lazy and didn't end up going out so she stayed at home, too. So anyway, she suggested that we go get a drink Sunday afternoon. We ran out and did our grocery shopping and then I came home and baked cupcakes for the Sunday Family BBQ. We then met her, Croc, and the Teacher at a local pub and had a couple of drinks and it was a fun hour and a half sitting around laughing and talking and they had a really good guy singing and playing guitar and time was slipping away from us so we had to get going because Moth's Pop is a stickler for being on time and we were already late.

Tomorrow I've got a hot date with the Runner to go get our hair did by the Hairdresser and to check out her and the Smooth Talker's new house and puppy! The Smooth Talker suckered me in to making him cupcakes and since he and the Runner finally got engaged and it was just his birthday, I figured "why not?" so I'll be baking them fresh in the morning before I see her. Thursday is trivia night with Croc and the Teacher and Croc's parents. Did I mention we won the jackpot last week, but had to split it with another team. Still, we ended up winning $73! Friday night, MOTH is off to Queensland, as I have previously mentioned, for his cousin's wedding and I might have a night out with Tinkerbell, Potential Sis In Law, the Teacher, and the Hairdresser and LC if they are around. Tinkerbell wants to dance. I'm not a dancer, but I'll go to hang out and to be the DD for everyone so they can have a big night if they want to. I've also started a diet this week (basically just trying to eat less, no dessert through the week, and eating as much organic fruits, meats, and veggies as possible) and am working on a 30 before 30 list that I'll share with you guys soon.

That's about all from here, keep those fingers crossed about the job for me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't Let Your Inhibitions Guide Your Way

I've started a list of 30 things (well 27 for now) that I want to do before I'm 30. That means I've got a little longer than 4 and a half years to get this stuff done. I know it's not the most original blog post, as I have seen it done in a bunch of different variations on a bunch of different blogs, but I think it's important to put things out in to the universe if you want them to happen so here it goes universe:

1. Get married. (I'm engaged so well on my way to this one-September 2012)

2. Find steady employment.

3. Lose weight, I won't specify a number, but it's intimidating.

4. Travel to South Africa.

5. Finally travel to Melbourne.

6. Finally travel to the Gold Coast.

7. Visit 2 new states in the U.S.

8. Paddle an Outrigger Canoe.

9. Save enough money for a down payment on a house.

10. Buy starter and learn how to make really good San Francisco style sourdough bread.

11. Learn how to make my own barbeque sauce.

12. Attempt to make mozzarella cheese at home.

13. See a movie at a drive in theater.

14. Keep this blog going for at least another 2 years.

15. Do the majority of my shopping at farmers markets and try and eat more locally grown foods and foods that are actually in season for where I live. Only eat chicken that has been ethically raised.

16. Go on a long bike ride along the CA coast.

17. Buy a beach cruiser.

18. Go camping more often. Camp in the mountains near Julian again, like we used to every Memorial Day Weekend growing up.

19. Plant a fruit and vegetable garden, maintain, and harvest it.

20. Get a dog (or 3, plus a cat, some chickens, a goat, and one of those little teacup pigs).

21. Read Michael Pollan's 4 books: In Defense of Food, The Omnivore's Dilemna (I'm halfway through this one), Food Rules and the Botany of Desire.

22. Smoke pot, but only if it becomes legal in California! (Seriously, how did I get through high school without ever trying it? I'm a good girl is how!)

23. Go on a whale watching trip in Monterey Bay.

24. Visit Julian and my God Parents again.

25. Go apple and/or berry picking.

26. See Blink 182 in concert.

27. Third time's a charm- finally see Brand New in concert.

What are your goals for yourself over the next couple of years? I'd love to hear all or part of other peoples' 30 before 30 list or whatever your variation of it is (if you've done it on your blog before, send me the link just in case I haven't read it before).

Happy Birthday to You

Today is my Mom's birthday- Happy Birthday Mom! A combination of bad weather here, summer there, missing loved ones' birthdays, and the 4th of July makes me miss home. It's hard to hear about all the fun I'm missing out on and all the changes that are happening at my parents' house- kitchen remodel, things that were planted in the garden while I was there are fruiting now, my sister is back living with them, and just the day-to-day stuff you don't think of while you're there.

I've got too much time on my hands to think about these things, though, and the crummy weather has been keeping me inside, rather than out on my walks. I still haven't heard back about the job, but know they are still contacting my references and waiting to analyze the results of my physical (great hearing, perfect vision, and yes, I can touch my toes, thank you very much! but surprisingly the urine sample I gave was only going to be analyzed for blood, protein, and sugar, not drugs as is normal for most jobs in the U.S. these days).

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I think I may have gotten one of the positions so once I start training full time I won't have time to sit around and be sad. We also seem to have a really full rest of the month in terms of our weekends. Lo turned 1 on the 6th and tomorrow we are all getting together to celebrate her birthday. I know LC has been running around like crazy organizing and cleaning for the party for the past few months so I'm sure she'll be excited when tomorrow is finally here. Next weekend won't be busy for me, but MOTH Dude is flying up to Queensland for his cousin's wedding. I was invited, but we didn't know what my job situation or our money situation would be like when it was time to book the tickets so I opted to not go. Plus, once again, I'm a princess and I might have had to sleep on the floor for a few nights and I just can't handle it, and no one else in the family was getting a hotel room so it would've looked weird if we had. Lastly, the weekend after that we are celebrating Christmas in July with all of our friends over at The Soccer Player and the Hairdresser's place and it'll be fun to come up with a few recipes to try out for then.

August and September we don't have a lot planned for yet, but there is Nae's birthday to buy for and both of MOTH's parents have birthdays then, as well as Australian Father's Day so I'm sure we'll be kept busy with those events.

I'm also pretty excited because we are going to have our engagement party in October and MOTH Dude has agreed that a luau sounds like a fun party to throw (thanks for the suggestion LC!). I've already found a bunch of recipes that I'd like to make and Croc made the suggestion last night that we should turn part of our backyard in to a beach since MOTH's uncle can get us sand for really cheap. It sounds fun and crazy, although, I'm not sure if it's a good idea since we've been having trouble with a cat in our yard and wouldn't want our sand to turn in to a giant cat box.....yuck!

After writing all of our plans out, I've actually cheered myself up a bit. I'm missing out on things back home, but it's nice to have friends here who keep us busy and with plans of our own.