Sunday, November 23, 2008

Random weekend happenings...

Friday evening we had my work Christmas party. It was a costume party, of course, as that seems to be the case with Christmas parties in Brisbane. Anyway, the theme was "what you want to be when you grow up" and since I only ever wanted to be a teacher (except for that short time when it was my dream to work at the grocery store), I decided to just do something silly. I settled on a tacky 80s version of Miss Universe and Steve pulled together a last minute biker dude. It was amazing how hard it was to find a cheap tacky 80s dress! I went to 9 thrifts shops before I found this one for $15. I seriously miss Frenchys! Anyway, we went lawn bowing, which is something I have wanted to try since we moved here. It's very big here, not like in Canada where just old people seem to play. I found it pretty boring and I was pretty bad at it. Might not play again until I'm old. Steve was quite good though and he seemed to enjoy it. The costumes at the party were all really good...everyone got really into it!
Sexy.
Miss Universe, a plumber and a fireman.
Trophy wife, Fireman and Miss Universe.
And us again...
Sarah Palin, a pirate and again the fireman.
Nurse and trophy wife.
A little kid and a gypsy.

A pilot.
An old retired man. He really got into character and won first prize for the best costume. He spent the night collecting empty beer bottles in his cart.
A ballerina and Barbie. That's just a few of them, but they really were all well put together!
It was a fun night!

Saturday, I decided I wanted to plan nothing. We always have the busiest weekends, even when we say we'll have a quiet one. So, this time I stuck to the plan and it was great! We just putted around the house, did some cleaning and lots of laundry...10 loads! It's amazing how behind you get when it doesn't stop raining, you don't have a dryer and your laundry area is flooded! Phewf! Luckily, our washer held up and still works! Here's a little of else we did when we weren't eating yummy food and napping (it really was a pretty chilled out weekend!)...
Steve worked on making a fence for Jesse. The bamboo one that we put up a year ago took a serious beating in the storms, so Steve is replacing it with a wood fence. It'll be way better, as we'll be able to open and close it and since we just signed a lease for another year here, it's worth the effort. We have the fence so that when Jesse is here by himself and he's outside, he can't get to the front yard.
Steve did a great job! Can't wait until the whole thing is finished!
While he did the fence, I finished my Christmas wreath for the front door. I think I'm obsessed with wreaths made of fabric! They are so much fun to make. There's something strangely relaxing about doing it.
I also worked on making a Christmas card holder thing, so I'm all ready for getting Christmas cards in the mail;) I'll show you what it looks like when I'm done...
I also did a little gardening. I really like the planting part, it's the whole keeping them alive after that I'm terrible at. Hopefully these last because they look really pretty. I did quite a few pots.
I picked flowers that reminded me of home. Nothing too tropical, just your basic marigolds and petunias.

And that's it. I feel very rested and relaxed. Back to work tomorrow. Hope everyone else had a super weekend too!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sunday's Storm

Here's a look at what happened on Sunday. A couple guys on there deck took this footage. Truly amazing. Make sure you watch the whole thing.



Lightning during last night's storm...

Steve took these just after the worst of the hailstorm calmed down last night. There was lightning long after the worst of the weather was over. Steve and I were supposed to do a 5 km fun run last night (my first one!), and after fighting through traffic to get to the Botanical Gardens downtown, we found out it had been canceled because of the storm. I'm thinking that was a good decision...could have made for a very wet and crazy fun run!
If you go here...http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/...there's info about the weather we've been having and lots of pictures. Rumor has it we're meant to get another storm tomorrow, but we'll see...

video

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Storm #3

Yup, another storm today. That's 3 storms in 4 days. It was definitely not like this last summer! This storm brought hail, more heavy rain and more flooding under our house. I'm really starting to worry about our spanky new washer. That can't be good for it! Fingers crossed that it still works! The lightning was crazy this time around and the hail was pretty cool. Cool because our car was undercover and we were cozy in our house! It was our first Brisbane hailstorm. Very loud on our tin roof! Jesse was pretty freaked out by the whole thing! See above picture for proof!:)

video

Storm #2

video

So after the crazy storm that we had on Sunday night (the one Steve previously posted about), we got hit with insane rain and strong winds in the middle of the night last night. According to the news, we received 220 mm of rain, 100 of which fell in only one hour. I'm a pretty sound sleeper and the rain woke me up at about 1:30 am. It sounded like it was going to come right through the roof! Absolute crazy rain. I have never seen it rain that hard. That's when we discovered that our entire yard and the whole area under our house was flooded, including our storage room and the washer which was under a bit of water. I now understand why our house is on stilts. We would have been screwed if it wasn't. It was like a river running through the yard! Lots of people had flash flooding all over the place (homes and cars) and roads and highways are still closed tonight due to flooding. It's especially sad for the people who had just started to get their homes back to normal from the flooding on Sunday night and were then hit again. I'm wondering if it's safe to say the drought is over...?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday Mega Storm!!!!!

So we get a call from the Rej and Clo Sunday morning, wondering if we wanted to hit the beach, we say sure, they say "word" and off we go to Bribie Island. The day is hot, the water is warm and the dog is annoying the hell out of us at the beach.. Perfect Sunday.
Oh but wait, a storm is a comin'.
We were expecting rain, a lot of rain, but what we got was a once in a 25 year shit storm. Hail, high winds and a ton of rain. I've never seen anything like it before, and lucky us, we got to experience most of it while driving on highway.
I messed up the post so the pics are out of order, above was one of the big thunder heads that rolled in.
The storm is over the city and heading North. Very dark sky.
The beach was great, Jesse even made a friend, "Cookie"
Cookies' mom...
Time for a drink

video video

We took these videos while driving.
We didn't realize how bad the storm was until we got home and looked at the news. Houses were destroyed, cars crushed by trees and 4cm hail stones. The Gap (the neighborhood that Rej and Clo live in) was one of the hardest hit areas, most of the roads are blocked by fallen tress and downed power lines. 2 days later and Rej and Clo still don't have power. Brisbane has been declared a disaster zone and the army was called in to help clean up and clear roads. Crazy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Catching up...

Last night, I caught up with a couple of friends that I used to work with at the clinic. Kristy is due to have her first baby in 2 weeks (the 30th of November is her due date). We all been busy and haven't seen each other much, so we thought we'd better get together now, before Kristy gets busy with a wee little one! We went to the Himalayan Cafe, just around the corner from my house. Not sure if I've ever mentioned that place before, but it's amazing! I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a place to dine in Brisbane! We also stopped by the bakery just beside it for take away desserts. That place is also really yummy, with lots of choice! I had such a great time, just chatting and catching up. I really miss working with Kristy and Chiemi! It's just so relaxed and chilled when we all hang out! I had a great time last night...thanks Guys!:)
Me and Chiemi at the restaurant...
After desserts and tea at my house, Chiemi gave Kristy some labour inducing acupuncture...
...lots of needles in Kristy cute little puffy pregnancy feet! Hopefully it helps! Fingers crossed!
And of course, there were presents! What is it about baby stuff that just makes you smile? It all looks so cute and zen! I made one of those no sew fleece blankets in the most adorable fabric! Kristy doesn't know what she is having, so I had to keep it neutral. I followed the directions here... http://www.exploringwomanhood.com/homelife/ideas/pom-jan03.htm ...in case anyone wants to make one. I made one a couple years ago as a baby gift, but couldn't remember exactly what I did, so the directions helped refresh my memory!

Thanks again girls for a lovely evening!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Dad

Grampie
November 13, 1932- June 9,2001

When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And only remember the smile
Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done.
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun.
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day.
Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay,
And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west.
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday, well still is in Canada. I thought about him all day and thought it was really nice when I went on facebook this morning and saw that my niece, Sara had posted the above picture and poem that was read at his funeral, on her facebook page. That poem so perfectly suited him (well except perhaps the flower bit, I'm thinking I got my green thumb, or lack of, from him!) and as I read it today, I have to admit I got pretty choked up. I miss him a lot and while some days it feels like I'm starting to forget small things about him, other days a funny little memory will come to me at the weirdest time and it'll feel like he's never left. Like the other day when I was opening a thing of sardines for Jesse (his favorite treat!) and I thought about how we would wrap sardines and stuff them in Dad's stocking at Christmas and Dad would be as happy with those on Christmas morning as a child who just got their favorite toy from Santa! I told Jesse that he takes after his Ginkie when it comes to sardines;) It's definitely hard to believe that it's been 7 years since he passed away. I sometimes wonder what he would have to say about me living in Australia and honestly, it can make me laugh out loud at times, imagining him talking about it! Dad definitely had a way of putting things! Hopefully, he's still with us in some way, and keeping an eye on all of us! Dad, you are surely missed!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Christmas fever!

Today was such a wonderfully relaxing day! I made some bread dough Christmas ornaments, wrapped some presents and wrote some Christmas cards. I also took a nap and watched some tv. It was great! It's funny because even though Christmas in Australia is nothing like Christmas at home, the best part is still just as exciting! What's the best part, you may ask? The prep work! Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, writing cards, making Christmas crafts, decorating, posting parcels and baking! I just love it and as an added bonus, I have the perfect excuse to start it all early! I have to be organized to get everything to Canada in time!:) Steve still stands by his no decorating until December 1st rule, which is fine, but I had to make these ornaments today for work. Really, I just had to. I'm planning to make some with the kids in a few weeks and I wanted to find a recipe that was easy, cheap to make and worked well. What I really wanted to make were these...


Cinnamon-Applesauce Craft Dough
1 ½ Cups ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Applesauce
¼ Cup White School Glue
Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Add water if the dough is too stiff, a little at a time (be careful not to overdo it). Knead mixture for five to ten minutes. Return mixture to bowl an let sit for about half an hour. Roll dough to a thickness of ¼ to 1/8 inches. Cut with cookie cutters. Make holes for hanging with a straw. Cover a wire rack with a paper towel and place ornaments on the towel to dry. Ornaments can also be dried by baking them on a rack (without the paper towel) for two hours at 200 degrees. Sand dried ornaments with fine sand paper or emery boards. Wipe sanded edges with a damp sponge to relieve discoloration.

...but I think applesauce and cinnamon might be too expensive for 130 kids! So, I tried this recipe...

Salt Bread Dough
¼ Cup Salt
½ Cup Boiling Water
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
¼ Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring (optional)
Pour boiling water in a bowl and add salt and food coloring (if using). Add remaining ingredients. Knead dough to desired consistency for crafting. Keep salt dough wrapped in plastic when not in use. Model dough as desired. It may be helpful to keep a bowl of water nearby while crafting to smooth dough and attach pieces. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Ornaments will puff a little when baked. Completed ornaments may be painted, or brush with beaten egg and water mixture prior to baking for a darkened, shiny appearance.
...and they turned out pretty good! I think I will still make the apple and cinnamon ones for me a bit closer to Christmas though...they just smell SO good!


And just so you know, I just bought this little Christmas tree this past week. I figure it'll be easy to squish in my suitcase and then set up in our camper van when we're bumming around Tasmania at Christmas! For now, it holds my dough ornaments well!







Saturday, November 08, 2008

Diving in Byron Bay

Last Sunday, Me, Steve, Dan, Amy, Rej and Clo all headed to Byron Bay to do a dive at Julian Rocks. We had a great dive, probably one of my favorites yet. I felt really at ease in the water and found my buoyancy easy to get right. We saw lots of things, including a large bull ray, a huge sea turtle who was resting on the bottom and then took off (my favorite part of the dive!) and a nurse shark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurse_shark). Dan and Amy also had their camera which has an underwater case, so they got some pictures of us and some of what we saw. Here they are...thanks for sharing guys!

I really like starfish!


Me and Steve...you can tell we're smiling. This was right after we saw the nurse shark. Steve really liked it!


Me...

Wobbegongs...a type of shark...


Me and Steve swimming...

Scuba Steve...



I will add that on Saturday, the day before we went diving, the dive place called us and told us that there had been what they thought was a great white shark in the area. Apparently, a group of divers saw it while diving with another dive company. Our dive company gave us the option to cancel the dive, if we didn't feel comfortable but we decided to still go. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we didn't see any great whites on this dive. It would be pretty cool to see one, just as long as you lived to tell the story of it, with all limbs intact!

More pictures!

Rej took some really great pics the last time we all went camping at Noosa. He just gave us a copy of them and they are just way too good not to share! Thanks Rej! For more of Rej's photos check out his blog at...http://gecko-hunter.blogspot.com/.