Sunday, December 30, 2007

One more sleep!!!

One more sleep and we leave on our first ever planned vacation together! I mean Steve and I have visited Nova Scotia from Montreal and we went to Hawaii on our way to Brisbane, but we have never booked a holiday, boarded a plane and went on a week long holiday to anywhere other than to visit family. I'm really excited!
Jesse is at the kennel, which was surprisingly hard for me to leave him there. Not quite sure how I did 3 month away from him! But, he seemed pretty happy about being there, so Steve said to look at it as Jesse's own little vacation. I'm sure he's having a blast. The kennel was very nice and came highly recommended.
Just want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I'll post pics when we get back. We'll finally have internet at our new house when we get home!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our First Christmas Down Under...

Well, we experienced our first Australian Christmas. Although, I'm still not clear on why Aussies decorate their homes with snowmen and snowflakes, I'd say overall our first hoilday in the land down under was a success! We embraced change and opted for some tacky unique decorations, including the tree which Steve is putting the picture above. We hosted an orphan Christmas Eve get-together and I have to say, that although it was warm, with the lights down low and the Christmas music playing, Christmas Eve with everyone together did feel a little bit like Christmas. It felt weird to think that it wasn't Christmas Eve at home though! I'm used to thinking about how everyone is celebrating the holidays together, but really, we weren't. So, that was a little weird!
This is me decorating our tree. I brought about 10 of my favorite ornaments with me and I'd say they looked nice tied on our tree of lights!

These pics were snapped on Christmas Eve...

We have 3 big palm trees in our new backyard. Not sure if you can see it Carol, but I'm wearing my snowman pin that you gave me last year!

Rej in our backyard. There are so many beautiful flowers in bloom in our yard!
There were 10 of us in total for Christmas Eve. Everyone brought a dish. Steve and I made our Christmas Eve tradition...seafood chowder. There was lots of food, lots of desserts and lots of wine!
Jesse modeled several Christmas designs throughout the evening...
Vic, just after he popped open the champagne.
King Steve.
I bought some of those Christmas Crackers. They are big here. I have always wanted to get some and figured this would be a good year to do it, seeing as the whole Christmas groove was off anyway! They were fun. Everyone got a hat.

We brought Jesse's Christmas suit from Canada. I'm not so sure that Jes was happy to see it. He looks like he's about to run in this pic!
My handsome Hubby.
Making the seafood chowder. This time we made one with a tomato base. It turned out great!
Clo spent an entire day making meat tortiere and I spend a whole minute burning it!!! It was the one and only Christmas crisis! It felt like home! hehe:) We thought our new stove had a warmer but it turns out that it's a grill!!! Anyway, the kitchen filled with smoke and I burned my hand trying to save the pie! Clo was great about it and just cut off the burnt bit. Other than the crust, it was fine and still tasted great! Plus, it definitely helped to make for a funny memory!
I wasn't joking...I really burnt it!
On Christmas morning, we opened our only wrapped present from the Purdys! Thanks so much guys! We loved everything and the shirts fit great!! And thanks to those of you who sent us cards! It was really nice getting them in the mail!

Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Day on a beach in Byron Bay. The weather was warm but not hot and it wasn't all that sunny. Really, the weather all over Christmas was anything like what I had been warned it would be. I haven't really found it all that hot and it's officially summer now. Aussies were warning us that the temps would be extreme and that cooking a turkey would be completely out of the question. However, we totally could have made a turkey dinner! So, either it's cooler than usual for this time of year or Brisbane doesn't get that much hotter and humid than Montreal. Anyway, the beach was still fun. It was neat to see people at the beach in their swimsuits and Santa hats. It was definitely a unique Christmas Day for us! Christmas dinner was Indian food at a little restaurant in Byron. Ironically, our waitress was French and a group of 6 people all from Canada sat at the table with us during dinner. They entertained us with a singing Christmas tree that they brought with them from Canada.
Boxing Day, we hit the mall and did some shopping. The crowds were crazy. Lots of sales but nothing like Boxing Day sales at home. I still found things expensive. We bought a few things that we need for our trip and then headed home for left over seafood chowder. All and all, a happy first Christmas down under!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pandemic Pride

Just last week Auran Studios laid off almost all of there developers. Auran is a Brisbane based game studio that is one of the oldest game developers in Australia. Needles to say its a crappy time of year to get canned. Pandemic decided to throw a Christmas party for the guys that were laid off. So some of our HR crew through together a last minute Christmas Doo, renting out a bar and providing food, drinks and prizes to the X Auran staff.
I don't think I've ever said this about a place I've worked, and I might never say it again, but I was extremely proud of what Pandemic did for the Auran staff. About 40 Auran people showed up to enjoy the evening, and from what I heard this morning they had a good time and really appreciated Pandemic throwing them a party. Hopefully a lot of the laid off staff will get picked up by the other local studios, and I'm sure some will come work for us.

Anyway, hats off to our HR team.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas time!

Can I just say that I have caught the Christmas bug! All it took was a little decorating, a little shortbread cookie baking and a little gift delivering and I totally stopped caring that it is summer! I think I would have been excited sooner if it hadn't been for moving and not being able to decorate! It's funny how doing the familiar traditions of Christmas make it all feel real and magical again, regardless of where you're living...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A little out of touch...

It's been a busy week! Here's a quick recap...
I went to Noosa last Thursday night with Brianna and Clo. We spent the night and came back Friday night. I had a great time!
Then, Steve and I spent the weekend packing and cleaning. We had a lovely dinner at Rej and Clo's place on Saturday evening, which was great timing, as all our kitchen stuff was packed! I was planning to post pics of these events, but our internet got cut off before I had a chance! That's right...we have no internet. That means no skype phone, email, facebook or blogging from home. It gets hooked up again on January 3rd.
On Monday, we moved into our new house. We've been busy packing, cleaning and decorating. I like the house. It's not as newly renovated as our last house, but there are special things about it that I like better. Once I have internet again, I'll post some pics and more info about it. I don't have time for details now, as I'm currently blogging at work!
Last night Steve and I did a little Christmas decorating. It's definitely not our traditional decorating, but it looks nice and having some stuff up actually helped it to feel like Christmas!
I do have to say that the snow they are getting in Montreal is amazing!!! Not sure I miss it though...not this year anyway! Is NS getting that much white stuff???
Anyway, I should get to work. I'll try to be in touch soon. I might buy a calling card and use that at the payphone down the street to call at Christmas (our phone also gets hooked up on January 3rd)!
To all of you who I may not get to chat with before the holidays...Merry Christmas!!! Miss you all! Love you lots!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...moving?! That's right, moving. Seems like an odd time to "move house" as Aussies say but we are. Is it just me, or do we seem to always be moving?? We get the keys for our new place on Monday afternoon. Steve has Monday and Tuesday off to get everything moved from one place to another. I've been trying to be organized and have pretty much everything packed and ready to go. Not that it takes that long to pack when you hardly own anything! Clo came over a few days ago to give me a hand and we pretty much had everything boxed and ready to go in an hour and a half! I have to say, I quite like having less stuff. Less stuff, less clutter. It feels good. I'm looking forward to seeing our new house and really looking forward to getting settled and finally being able to put up a few Christmas decorations! Maybe that will help it feel more like the Christmas season! In the meantime, I'm off to Noosa tonight to stay in a beach house with Brianna and Clo. Girls' roadtrip! Fun! It's calling for a sunny and hot day tomorrow, so it should be a good day to lay by the ocean! Yup, tis the Christmas season, Aussie style...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A long post!

Whoa, last week was a busy one! On Monday night, Jeff had us over for dinner at his place. Karine and Jolyne were visiting from Canada and staying with Jeff. It was a little mini Montreal reunion with Jeff, Vic, Jolyne, Karine, me and Steve. Seemed a bit strange to be hanging out with them in Brisbane but really nice to see them and catch up with them! On Tuesday night, I went out for dinner and a movie with Brianna and Clo. It's nice to get out with the girls. Next week Clo and I are driving to meet Brianna in Noosa, where she's staying in a beautiful beach house. I have Friday off and we're going to drive up on Thursday evening and spend the night and then spend all day Friday being beach bums. I'm so, so looking forward to it!
On Wednesday night, we had everyone over at our house for a BBQ. I love having people over! Again, Jolyne and Karine joined us, which was nice and it was nice for Rej, Clo and Brianna to meet some of the people that we know from home.

Steve took Wednesday off work and drove our car to Noosa with Jeff, Jolyne and Karine. He's mastered driving a standard and apparenty did very well on the 2 hour drive there and back. I had to work, but judging from the pics and the sunburns they all had when they got back, I think they had a fun day in the sun!
This weekend was amazing. We were total beach bums. Originally, Clo and I were trying to organize a camping trip for the 4 of us, but because it's now "school holidays" it was impossible to get a campsite. We're going to try to plan a camping trip in the New Year, and book a site well in advance. I miss camping! Anyhoo, no camping did not mean no fun. We headed off to Byron Bay on Saturday morning, where we spent a beautiful day relaxing, swimming, body boarding and snorkling...well the boys snorkled and apparently it was amazing. They saw everything from turtles to rays, just swimming off shore a bit. We packed an awesome picnic lunch in our new cooler (we're pretty excited about having a cooler!) and ate on our new camping dishes (we're slowly trying to collect camping stuff again). A few pics...
Silly boys.
Pit stop. Clo is like me and eats often. It's great! We had several snack breaks throughout the day!
Our picnic lunch...It's so much cheaper and yummier to pack a lunch! Plus, I think it's so much more fun!

Clo went a little overboard on the sunscreen! hehe:) But, seriously, the sun is so strong here. It is definitely NOT the same sun as at home. We wear SPF 30+ (that's the strongest you can get in Australia) and we apply it about 3-4 times while we're at the beach and we still get tan lines and sometimes even burns (especially Steve). A lot of people cover up with SPF shirts. It's tough because it's so nice to be tanned but it's just not a good idea to get too much sun here. A lot of Australia women look much older than they are, because of growing up in the strong sun. People often comment to me that I have "Canadian skin", which doesn't just mean pale, but wrinkle free too. I was talking to a couple of people about our cruise and if we should be concerned about crocs or box jelly fish and they told me, dead serious that the only thing we should fear is the sun. I have met so many people that have blistered and become very sick after a day at the beach without the proper protection.
Steve and Rej, off to see the fish.
I need a new sun hat. This one is way too floppy.
Clo in her non-floppy sun hat.

Today we were supposed to pack, since we're moving next Monday, but we woke up to the sun shining and very hot temperatures. Summer is definitely here! So we said screw it and went to the beach instead! I'm getting really good at letting work go when there's something more fun to do (maybe a little too good!). We packed up another picnic lunch, threw Jesse is the car (this is exactly why we wanted a car...not for everyday stuff, but for the freedom to go wherever we want, whenever we want on the weekends) and headed out. The water was so warm. I don't think I have ever swam in an ocean that warm! It truly felt like bath water! Jesse loved it and definitely got his exercise today. The above picture is pretty funny...Steve definitely captured the moment there!
I laugh so hard watching Jesse take on the waves. He's mastered keeping his head above the waves and fights them quite bravely, in order to be out with Steve and I.
Although, sometimes even the bravest dog needs a little help...
Back to work tomorrow. Although, like Steve said at dinner's not so bad working for a living, when you get to spend your weekends like this....
Hope everyone at home had a great weekend too!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Did somebody say December?

On Sunday, we went to my work's Christmas Party, hosted at Wet 'n Wild Water Park. A little weird to attend a Christmas party at a water park! But we had a great day. It wasn't too sunny and it wasn't too hot, so it seemed to be the perfect day for it. They had some pretty cool slides (the pic above shows the favorite slide!). Rebecca (my boss) provided a delicious lunch. It was nice to spend some time with co-workers outside of work...

Sorry Darryl and Stacey!

Last night Jeff had a dinner party at his house. Jolyne and Karine are visiting from Montreal at the moment and it was great to hang out with some people from home! The Purdys sent us some Christmas presents in Jolyne's suitcase! How exciting! Although, I'm tempted to open them, I promise I will wait the 3 weeks until Christmas Day (it's only 3 weeks from today!). Anyway, Jesse had different plans. He sniffed his present out as soon as I put the bag down! I think the fact that the bag squeaked didn't help! So, I let him open just one of his presents and can I just say that he LOVES his toy! He hasn't let the toy out of his site since he opened it! I'm not sure the neighbors are loving it as much. The constant squeak coming from the backyard is a bit trying on the patience but it's cute to see Jes so excited! You guys pick the best dog toys!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Merry Early Christmas

Well, today we welcomed a new addition to the Dickinson family. A 2007 Toyota Yaris...Sporting a peppy 1.3 Litre engine, a/c, mp3 player and at 6.4 litres of gas per 100km she'll go to hell and back on one tank of gas. We ended up getting a manual, so after we picked it up, Cari took me to a quite street and started teaching me how to drive a stick. She said I did really good, I seemed to do best on the hills for some reason. I'm not ready for the main streets yet, but give it a couple more lessons and I'll be there. We decided to stop when the car started to smell like burnt popcorn.

Got a hatch back so Jesse will have a nice spot to hang out in when were coming back from the beach

Steve (now owes an Aussie bank money) Dickinson

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where art thou Mr. Plumber?

After a good time Saturday night at the Pandemic party, we came home to discover that although Steve used 2 bottles of Draino in our bathroom drain, we still had serious plumbing issues. When we flushed the toilet, it came up the shower drain. YUCK. Since our rental agency was closed on Sunday, Steve called the emergency number on the back of our tenacy agreement. We figured poop in the shower fell under "health risk" and meant emergency (sorry if you were eating as you read this!). Anyway, our emergency plumber has still not shown up and it's now Monday morning at 8 a.m! He wasn't able to come yesterday but said he'd be here first thing this morning. So, it's been no showers for us and minimal toilet using. You really take all these modern conveniences for granted until they're gone! Luckily our new house has a back- up toilet...outside! I don't get it but homes here sometimes have outhouses in the backyard. Only, it's a modern flush toilet. Just a toilet in a shed. I really don't know why this set-up was originally designed but it sure would come in handy now!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pandemic Christmas Party

Whips….check, Mistress choker…..check…..Hand Cuffs…..check, Dog collar and leash….check, check, Blind fold….check, Wedding band…..Wedding band?? Oh Yup…there it is, check. Time for a Christmas Party!!
Santa Bitch

Santa's Mistress
Bad Santa!
Rej and Clo waiting to be unwraped.
The Gang, Morgan, Kate, Santa Bitch, Cari, Clo and Rej.

Cool Santa.

Me, drinking my beer through a straw…Go ahead and laugh, if you have a better way of drinking a beer with a beard I’m all ears!
This isn't what it looks like!

The 2 Producers of Pandemic, Dylan and Gordan
Now they are hugging, we don't ask, they don't tell.
Kate reminding Morgan Bitch who's the Boss.

No idea, but it looks like fun.
At some point I turned into Santa Mime Angel.
Sticking with Henley tradition, Cari nursed off a hang over in the morning. The party was a lot of fun, I won a $100 gift card to a electronic store here in Brisbane. There were lots of prizes, alcohol, and people, all the ingredients for a good time.