Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bunya Mountains National Park...Camping

We went camping again over the weekend. We left on Friday and came back yesterday. Getting there took us about 4 hours with traffic. The drive there was really nice, at least what we saw before it got dark. It was chilly when we arrived. I was freezing the first night in our tent!!
Our campsite. Campsites in Australia seem to be very open, so if other people are camping, you'd all be hanging out together. Since we're camping in the winter, there's never anyone else close to us, but I can see how it would be up close and personal with strangers if there were others around.
On Saturday morning there was frost on the ground. I'm not sure what the temp was overnight but one of the men at the general store in the park said that it had been getting down to -3 degrees. It was really cold!
Saturday morning sunrise...
Me waiting for a hot tea early Saturday morning. Thank goodness I bought a warm coat!
Steve making us a warm fire...
Getting ready to make brekky...Steve and I made Saturday's breakfast...bacon, eggs and toast.
The Purdys brought lunch that day...sandwiches to take with us on our hike...
We did a 6 km hike through the rain forest on the edge of a hill...

We stopped to eat our lunch at a lookoff...
Steve came across this guy causing trouble...gotta watch those cacti!
These are bunya trees...the whole point of the looking trees.
We also did a second short hike on Saturday. We were told it was worth the walk to watch the sunset...
It was a nice hike with very pretty views...
We had some snacks and took some pictures at the top, while we waited for the sun to set.

Our camera doesn't take very good pictures when the sun is around but this one came out kind of cool!
It's beginning to go down...
Dan enjoying the zen moment...

Bye sun...heading to Canada as someone said;)
Saturday night was chilly but not nearly as cold as the first night. We had chili and corn bread for dinner, compliments of Rej and Clo.
Rej and Clo also brought glow sticks and we brought sparklers. Made for a little childish fun!

The actual kids liked them too!

Sunday morning we had pancakes, with all the fancy trimmings for breakfast. Dan and Amy made this meal. They were yummy and a definite camping treat! We then packed up the stuff and headed to Kingaroy, a little town close to where we had camped. We went to a winery, tasted some wine, bought some wine and then had some lunch in a park with Darryl, Stacey and the kids. We then made our way home to pick up Jesse at the kennel (dogs aren't allowed in National parks in Australia) and enjoyed the best shower ever! It's amazing how good a shower feels after 3 days of not having one! Oh yeah, I also found what we think was a tick on me! Steve put an antiseptic on it and took it out with tweezers. It was really small though, so we're not 100% sure it was a tick but we didn't take any chances, since ticks are quite bad in the area where we camped and the park's website warns you to check yourself carefully.
And that was camping trip number 2!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A rant.

Okay, if one more person comments to me that dressing warm isn't very "Canadian" of me, I'm gonna SCREAM!!! Australians don't dress warm, at least here in Brisbane they don't. Parents send their kids to school at 7 am in shorts and t-shirts when it's 8 degrees. I'm sorry but wearing a warm jacket is not wimpy of me, I think it's just plain smart! Perhaps we Canadians know that 8 degrees when it's damp and overcast is chilly, and therefore warm clothes are in order! It's almost as though Aussies take pride in never being cold. They're always bragging..."It's not cold!" I have never coped well with cold weather, not just mentally, but physically as well, and I'm not afraid to admit it! I swear I used to have a permanent stiff neck from November to March in Canada, from holding my body so stiff in the cold. Also, some of you may remember that my hands would become so dry as soon as the weather turned cold that they would get red, crack and bleed, even with hand cream use? Well, this is the exact way that I know I have acclimatized to Australian winter. My hands are cracking and are SO dry and sore, ever since we've had a few cold mornings! I don't think washing them in freezing cold water at the staff bathroom several times a day helps, but there isn't even a hot water option! Seriously, I don't think we are Canadian folk are wimpy, we're just plain brillant and perhaps the Aussies could take a lesson from us! Dress warm, wash your hands with warm water when it's cold and oh yeah!, heat your homes!!!! There, I feel much better!;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This is where we're camping this weekend...
...should be fun but chilly! Luckily, I just bought a winter coat! That's something I never thought I would be buying in Australia, but it's cold first thing in the morning and seeing as I have to be at work by about 6:45 am and most of my time is spent with the kids outside, I needed one! Plus, Melbourne is going to be very chilly at the end of July...
The windiest time of the year in Melbourne begins in July. There may be several days in succession of strong, cold north to northwest winds, often with cloud and some light rain. The weather is frequently cold and cloudy. The few days of calm sunny weather are accompanied by cold nights with frost or fog. Fog usually forms late in the evening and clears by mid-morning, but occasionally persists for the whole day during July. There are usually a few very cold days with strong southerly winds and showers, light snow may fall on the hills within 35 km of the city centre. On rare occasions, snow even falls in the city. The year's coldest day, with a maximum temperature of about 9ºC, usually occurs during July. Some rain falls on an average of one day in two; on some of these days there may be only a little drizzle or a light shower. The highest number of wet days in any one-month in the city is twenty-seven, in August 1939. However, heavy rain is rare at this time of the year. In late August there are some warmer days, when the temperature usually reaches 20ºC for the first time since May."

My fear!

You know how some people have serious fears of snakes or spiders, heights, etc...? Well, I've never really had any strong fears or phobias. That's not to say that I like spiders or snakes, but the idea of seeing one doesn't make me feel like fainting or anything. It's only been lately that I have realized that I think I do have a serious fear. Don't laugh but I honestly think I might have a real fear of head lice!!! One of the joys of working with children, is the chance of getting lice. It's going around our school at the moment and there have been several children in our after school program who have it. I have become obsessed with the worry that I might get it! I check my hair everyday, cringe anytime one of the kids' hair brushes my hair and have even been having dreams where I get lice and I wake myself up because I'm scratching at my hair!!! Thinking back, I think I have always been terrified of getting it. I can clearly remember the town health nurse coming to our classroom when I was a kid and checking each child's hair with toothpicks and a paper bag, while we sat at our desks. I can vividly feel the anxiety even today, that I used to have at the idea of her calling me into the hall and telling me I had it! I was the same way when it used to go around the daycare where I worked, but not nearly as bad as I am working here. I think because at the daycare, there was a much smaller number of children that I was directly involved with, where here, I am around up to 150 kids daily. Man, it's stressful being fearful of something and I'm not quite sure how to stop worrying about it! I know I've heard that you have to face your fear to overcome it but getting head lice is simply not an option for me!!! Any suggestions? Right now I feel so itchy because I've been thinking about it! Help!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

BBQ in the park... of my favorite Aussie things to do! Yesterday's bbq was in New Farm Park. Hunter, one of the guys that works at Pandemic, is moving back to Florida, so there was a little farewell get- together. It was a nice day and right now as I sit in my house typing this with freezing fingers, I have to remind myself that just yesterday and the day before we were saying how lucky we are that this is considered winter. I will just add that it's 8 degrees in our house this morning (IN our house!) and we have no heat. Moving on...
Food was good, company was good...

Carson, another guy from Pandemic brought his English Mastiff. He's about 180 pounds and has about another 40 pounds to still grow! The amount of raw food that he eats in one day lasts Jesse about a week! Carson brought him over from Canada...can you imagine the size of his travel crate?! He was so friendly and playful! He wanted to play with this little dog, but the little guy decided to tell the big guy off! It was pretty funny!

"Excuse me, I'm going to take this call in the tree."
The boys tossed the ball around...
...Shamus enjoyed the sports! Fun times.

In other news, Steve and I started a little 5 day mini detox today. No meat, eggs, dairy, gluten, alcohol, sugar...the usual. I'll let you know how it goes!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Welcome Winter

The nights and early mornings have been getting chilly, but truly, we shouldn't complain too much (although having said that, I think the best purchase I have bought in a long time are our new flannel sheets!). I think it would officially be winter by now and yesterday Steve and I took a drive to the beach and it was absolutely beautiful! We bundled up, expecting it to be chilly but were surprised to find it sunny and warm, maybe even warmer at the coast than in the city. There were even a few people swimming, although I found the water cold...of course! It was probably warmer than what the Atlantic ocean at the beach at home gets in the heart of summer, so still pretty good for our winter! Although, when you're a kid, blue numb feet from playing in the ocean is somehow kind of fun and exciting! See Aussie kids miss out on that fun!! ;)
Jesse had a great run and swim. It's nice because there were hardly any people around, so he could just run and play and we didn't have to worry about him bothering anyone.
My boys:)

We had a nice walk. I LOVE living near the ocean!

After the beach, we finally got to enjoy Steve's Indian dish and watched a couple of movies. A wonderful Saturday indeed!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kids say the cutest things sometimes!

I must say, since working with kids again, I've had a few good laughs. They come out with the funniest things and mean them so seriously. This is a little conversation I had with 2 girls yesterday, both in grade 1...

Girl 1 to Cari: "Look at my party bag!"

Cari to Girl 1: "Oh wow! Did someone have a birthday?"

Girl 1 to Cari: "Yes, my friend, Ju."

Cari to Girl 1: "Your friend, Ju?" (Confirming that I heard the name correctly...she was mumbling into the party bag, digging for treats.)

Girl 2 jumps in on the conversation and says to Cari in a very matter of fact way, with big eyes and fingers pointing: "But not the 'Ju' that died on the cross!"

Cari to Girl 2: "Of course, thank you for clearing that up for me."

Too funny!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Possum problems...

Ok, so just when I think the bats aren't bad enough, we have a possum crisis. Okay, not a crisis but the little guy did manage to make our Friday night a wee bit inconvenient. I left work late, called Steve and to my surprise and pleasure he was making a special dinner of Indian fish curry, complete with wine and even flowers! I couldn't drive home fast enough!!! When I finally pull into our driveway, I find Steve outside with a flashlight and the house in darkness. The power had mysteriously gone out just as Steve was starting dinner. All of our neighbors had power. So, I called the power company and 2 hours later someone showed up and told us that a possum had pulled out the fuse on the line to our house. We often see possums walking on the wire and think it's cute. Apparently, it's a common problem here to have the possums put all their weight on the fuse and disconnect the power to the house that leads to the fuse. The guy who came out was super friendly and eventually got it fixed. Since our snazzy dinner was a no go, we ordered wings and caesar salad from this yummy American pub like place close to our house and drank our wine while playing crazy eights by candle light. Not exactly what we had planned but still lots of fun! As

Steve outside with the power company guy...
Me chillin' by candle light, enjoying the bliss of kickin' Steve's butt big time at crazy eights!:)
Guess it's going to be Indian curry tomorrow night for dinner instead!

Melbourne, here we come!

May and June tend to be an expensive month for the wife and I, actually more so for me. In the middle of May Cari always seems to get a year older, and at the end of May we celebrate another successful year of holding our marriage together. (only someone with a happy and fulfilled marriage could get away with typing that.....cough...) June of course, I openly embraced another year of wisdom as I turned a year older.
So this year we decided to pool our money and instead of getting gifts etc.... for each other, we're going to visit one of Australia's most iconic cities, Melbourne.
Last night I sat down and booked everything from the comfort of my kitchen, while snacking on a home made cookie that Cari made that morning, and a dog drooling at my feet hoping for a piece of the cookie.
Most of the time I get a little balled up when I'm booking plane tickets and hotel rooms. The cost of doing anything these days is mind blowing. Decent hotel rooms are at least $300 a night and plane tickets are always expensive.....
But not this time......
I was armed and ready for action. I had a game awesome trip, at a decent price...and I think I did it.
First up were the plane tickets. Unless we were willing to fly out at 6am one day and come home at midnight on another we were looking at about $500 - $650 round trip. Not to bad when I think about how much it used to cost Cari to fly home to Halifax from Montreal. But more then I wanted to spend.
Just like home they have credit cards in Australia that you can collect points with and use them for air fare. We use our credit card for everything, and of course it is paid off by the end of the month,(usually) so we have a lot of points. Long story short we ended up getting over 50% off the plane ticket. BAM! tickets booked.....
A minute after booking the tickets our bank account was a little lower and our credit card points were at zero.
Bring on the Hotel booking.... I was armed with my Entertainment book. Pandemic sells An Australian version of the Entertainment Book to raise money for social events. Its basically a book full of coupons and deals for $60 bucks. Its already paid for itself twice over. Along with hundreds a coupons there are hundreds of hotels you can stay at, at a discount price. Most of the time its 50% off the full room price. So I logged onto the Entertainment Book website and searched for hotels in down town Melbourne. I finally settled on the "Oaks On Collins"
and got it at 70% off the rack rate.
I was a happy camper.

Speaking of camping, we're going camping next weekend so we'll have lots of pics next weekend.

Steve (still cheap) Dickinson

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Going batty!

The other day I was bringing in the laundry that I left out overnight and was complaining that the bats had pooped on it. This is twice it has happened now and I'm finally realizing that I can't leave anything out on the line at night. Bat poop is gross (I have been told that it can take the paint off your car because it is so acidic...they eat fruit) and very hard to remove from things! Then, we have the pain of the bats knocking down the little ball like things that grow on the palm trees in our yard. There's one massive palm tree at the front of our house, just outside our bedroom window and the bats LOVE it! We can hear the ball thingies hitting the tin roof, front stairs and ground, as we lay in bed and the bats can get quite loud, gibbering and chatting like little alien beings to each other while we're trying to fall asleep! Check out the front yard...Steve just cleaned all the things up too!
Those little orange things are everywhere! The bats eat them and knock them down when they're moving around the tree...Also, it should be noted that the bats here are the size of a crow!
If you step in them, they squish and get all slimy, all over your shoes!
Even the neighbor's driveway gets covered in them!
But worst of all...this little turkey eats them! Lots of them!
Silly Jeddy, slimy orange thingies are for bats not puppy dogs!
I really never thought that bats could be such a pain the butt! Especially my butt! Oh well, I guess if bats is the worst thing I have to complain, then I'm doing well!