Wednesday, December 27, 2006

PowerBook G4 power supply SUCKS

My first power supply got very sucky after not too long when the prong that plugs into the laptop just wouldn't plug in properly and was loose and wouldn't charge properly.

So we moved to the US and got a new US power supply, and that fine. It's still loose, and I have to spin it around until it gets to a point where it actully charges. Then tonight it stopped charging and it looks it's been chewed by some pussy cats! It's a very flimsy cable, and given how frustrated I've been with the lack of charging it probably wouldn't have been too long before I replaced it anyway.

So I looked online for a replacement and it costs $79 and it takes 3-4 weeks to ship!!!! WTF???? How ridiculous is that??? I had a look at the reviews at the Apple website, and there's over 1300 reviews, with an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars. All the reviews complain about how flimsy and useless it is and how expenseive the replacements are.

I love my Mac but that's just stoopid!

Home again home again jiggity jig

Home from Las Vegas, much fun was had, and now I'm back at work, tired and sick. Bleh. More exciting Las Vegas report to come.

Hope everyone had a happy, safe chrissy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like christmas!

Food is everywherrrrre. That's how the song goes doesn't it??? :)

One of the lunch options at work today was christmas lunch which I'm currently munching on - turkey, roasted vegies, mash potato, stuffing, and a really yummy gravy! And dessert is peppermint smores - it's the first time I've had a smore, so I think once I eat it I'll officially be American :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another year older...

Ho hum, I'm another year older today. We've just had 2 weeks in Australia, I've started a new job, and we're about to go off to Vegas for 5 days, so we'll just have a quiet one tonight at home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Uber quick update

Back from Australia. Had a GREAT time! Heron Island was so beautiful and we had a really relaxing time there. Lovely to see our respective family and friends.

I got a job at Google in a temp to hire position as a project coordinator (woohoo!) which I started on Monday and is going well.

Andrew's now in Spain for a Debian QA meeting, feeling a little sick and tired (literally...) of travelling, but I think he'll have a ball still.

I passed my uni exams - yayyyyyy!!!!! I now have 3 months off for "summer holidays" which of course is winter over here, but we'll cram in as much as we can anyway.

Will get photos from Heron up very soon.

Monday, November 20, 2006


2 sleeps and we're off to Australia! I see my mum and nephews this weekend!!!!!! And this time next week we're going to relaxing at Heron Island!!!! WOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I'm excited????!!!! WOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cat's claws

For the fans... :)

No I didn't paint Lily's claws pink! They wear SoftPaws, which are vinyl caps that go on the cats claws. You trim the claws, put glue in the caps, then just slide them over the nails. They last until the claw sheds - usually about 4 weeks.

Our girls race all over the leather dining chairs, and both have long, sharp claws, so they kept scratching our furniture acidentally. So with these covers, they don't tear the furniture up... so much. And it makes playing more fun! They're inside cats, so don't need to climb trees for escape purposes.

Lily had kitten sized SoftPaws which were clear, but now she's getting bigger, she upgrading to the pink "small cat" sized caps.

Here's a pic of Stumpy showing off her SoftPaws.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Lily's audition photos

Lily's hoping for a part in the next Jackie Chan movie as a kung fu cat. Here's her audition photos :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why you shouldn't carve too early

We carved our Halloween pumpkins with the neighbours, Gavin and Christina, last weekend (ie. 1 1/2 weeks before Halloween). They looked VERY cool when first done. As below.

Now... it looks like he's been partying all night. He's slumped over the bottom step, he's got filthy mouldy "breath" and he looks spaced out. Oh and I think he wet himself too... :)


My face is throbbing, I'm trying to revise for my first uni exam which is in a week and I feel completely underprepared, I think my lunch may have had lactose in it, because my tummy is feeling quite ill right now (either that or the wide array of meds is making me sick again), the cat barfed on the table (which she's not supposed to be on), so we've had to do an extra load of washing to clean all the cat barf off the tablecloth, and now she's acting all weird, so now I'm also worried that something's wrong with her and it wasn't just overeating that made her barf.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's a small world

I was in the local post office the other weekend posting my uni assignment, and heard a pair of Aussie accents from across the counter, so commented to them something about it's funny how many Aussie accents there were around Mountain View.

So we got chatting, their names are Trish and James, and it turns out they'd just moved to Mountain View from Melbourne as James got a job in the Valley. Also turns out they live in the same complex as us! So we swapped phone numbers and have caught up a few times now and they're a lovely couple, with an absolutely adorable 1 year old son named Ashwin. And to continue with the small world theme, they have the same wedding date as us, we have mutual friends, and judging by what I just read on their blog, James' birthday is the same as Seth, my nephew's.

What a small world huh? :) It's nice when you meet random people in a random place, but something as simple as the same accent can bring you together!

Post surgery report

Well stage 2 of the implant is done. Stage 1 was the bone graft 6 months ago. I wasn't happy with that oral surgeon so decided to go with someone else for stage 2. I'm glad I did as well. Turns out the bone graft failed, and the screw that was half hanging out of my gum wasn't even attached to anything!!

So this guy could see the other dude hadn't grafted enough bone from the x-rays, and was saying depending on how it looked, they may do a connective tissue graft to make sure everything stays in place.

But because the graft didn't take, they had to do another bone graft, taking bone from my sinus cavity, a connective tissue graft which I think they took from the roof of my mouth, and the implant of the titanium screw.

So my poor mouth is feeling quite uncomfortable, my right sinus aches, I have a fair bit of facial swelling, and the roof of my mouth is hurting as well from the tissue graft I assume. I can wear my plate with the fake tooth which helps limit the swelling as well as helps me not look so silly, and I reckon it also stops me playing with all the stitches! They gave us an extra prescription for anti-inflammatories, and also told me to take high dosages of calcium and vitamins C and D to help with the bone healing and strength which certainly makes sense!

So my daily dosages are antibiotics 4 times a day, anti inflammatories starting at 6 a day and decreasing over the next week, painkillers as needed, 3 x Calcium tablets a day, 3 x Vitamin C a day, 2 x Vitamin D a day, and 5 x arnica 3 times a day as well as arnica gel on my face to stop bruising. Anyone who saw my post wisdom teeth photos will understand why I need anti bruising stuff... So that's 35 things in total I'll be taking today. Maybe more if I take more painkillers. Plus my heart tablets gives me at least 37 for the day. Wow. I'll so be rattling!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Still busy!

End of semester exams start in 1 1/2 weeks, so have been madly trying to study. Work has been ridiculously busy which has eaten into the study time and also sent energy levels crashing by the time I get home, so haven't felt very motivated to study.

Fingers crossed it'll all go fine...

I've got stage 2 of the dental implant surgery tomorrow - they'll be placing a titanium screw into my jaw bone. Eww. I hate operations. They may also need to do some more grafting depending on how much bone is there, so I'll keep fingers crossed for no extra grafting on that one as well.

I've also finally joined a gym, and have been trying to get into a routine for that, but previously mentioned study and work hasn't been helping! I've been trying to get in before work, and am going with one of the girls from work, so that's good. I went at 6am this morning though, and the last time I was up and going at that time was when I flew out of Singapore to come to the US! I feel soooo tired now! So hopefully I'll sleep well tonight and not be up all night thinking about the operation tomorrow.

We also still have our little foster kitten Smudge. She was supposed to go up for adoption two weeks ago, but they noticed she has an eye condition called Entropion, where her upper eyelid rolls inwards, which is causing eye irritation, and can damage the cornea. So we're keeping her for a few more weeks while she gets big enough for the surgery to fix her eyelids. Poor baby!

I think that's about it for the moment... Everything else is same ol', same ol'.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Introducing the new and improved blog!

I've been fiddling with my blog. I changed over to the new Blogger Beta, picked a new template, got rid of a bunch of the triathlon related stuff (let's face it, I'm not a triathlete anymore!!), and did a little bit of tweaking.

So apologies to anyone has my blog syndicated and has had everything reposted!

Don't swallow these!

According to Wikipedia, you can get Panadol suppositories. What a.... pain in the ass. Hehehe.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Something for pet owners to think about

As someone who has worked at an animal shelter, and a pet owner, this really touched me. I've read it before, but not since I've had a blog...

HOW COULD YOU? By Jim Willis, 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you
laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed
shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best
friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and
ask "How could you?"-but then you'd relent and roll me over for a

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you
were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those
nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and
secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more

We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for
ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs"
you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come
home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career,
and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you
patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments,
never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your
homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person"-still I welcomed her into
our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy
because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I
shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they
smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried
that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to
another room, or to a dog crate.

Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love." As
they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and
pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes,
investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved
everything about them and their touch-because your touch was now so
infrequent-and I would've defended them with my life if need be. I
would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret
dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that
you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories
about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed
the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and
you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new
career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving
to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right
decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your
only family.

I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal
shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You
filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home
for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand
the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You
had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he
screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I
worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about
friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about
respect for all life.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and
politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a
deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two
nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months
ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook
their heads and asked "How could you?"

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy
schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite
days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the
front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind-that this
was all a bad dream... or I hoped it would at least be someone who
cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for
attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated
to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me
at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a
separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table
and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in
anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of
relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which
she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I
knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my
foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same
way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the
hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool
liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into
her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"

Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry."
She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I
went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or
abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so
very different from this earthly place.

And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a
thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her.
It was directed at you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of you. I
will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your
life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yes, I am still here!

Whew, it's been a while! Just wanted to let everyone know that I AM still alive :)

So, I'm probably not going to get time to properly update about Yosemite or Arnie, but Andrew blogged about both, so have a read on his blog if you're interested :)

A couple of weekend ago we went to Pacifica which is a town near San Francisco which has a beach, so we met friends there and went boogie boarding. This is a Californian beach in summer - looks lovely huh?? :)

The weekend before last a friend of ours who has his pilot's license flew us to Reno, Nevada in a little 4 seater plane for air races/an air show that was on out there. It was great fun - the plane trip and the air show were both fantastic!!!

We got home from that and I had a message from my mum saying my new nephew had decided it was time to come out, so say hello to the gorgeous Mason Derek Roper.

Speaking of babies, our neighbours Christina and Gavin had their baby on September 12, and he is just gorgeous also! When we first had them around for dinner, Christina said she couldn't drink because she was pregnant and very excited, and if I remember correctly, they'd only just found out, so we've been able to see her grow over the time which has been nice!

Uni-wise, I had my third online test for accounting last week, and am currently doing an essay due in a couple of weeks, and have another online test due in a month, then end of year exams start on November 6, so I'll be kept very busy!

Work is still very busy as well, and keeps me run off my feet. I study when I get home, but feel exhausted when I get home, and don't get my second wind study wise until 8/9pm, so by 11pm, I feel as though I'm just in the middle of everything and don't want to go to bed. Unfortunately, at work I support the East Coast sales team, so if I don't get in to work until 9am, it's midday on the East Coast, and half their day is already gone! So, it's all a bit crazy!

Our friends Kynan and Shona have now arrived in the US - Kynan scored a job with Google also, so we've been been showing them the local sights, and all the important things such as the good grocery stores, and how this crazy country works :) It's fun playing tour guide!!

Our little foster kitten Smudge is doing very well. Her first week was rough, and she lost an ounce, whereas kittens should be gaining about 4 ounces a week (I don't know what this equates to in grams, this is just what the shelter people told me...). she was also about half the size she should have been. They thought she had some sort of congenital defect that was stopping her from processing food, because she was eating fine, just not gaining weight. They didn't think she was going to make it, and I was very upset! But they wormed her then, and I changed her diet to a mix of human childrens elecrolyte replacing fluid mixed with Kitten Milk Replacement, tinned cat food, dry kitten food, human baby food, high calorie kitten supplement and Bene-Bac - a tube of stuff tht contains beneficial bacteria to help with the diarrhea she was having. She had this 3 times a day, and she started looking better, and then every day she seemed healthier and stronger. It was very exciting to see her change from a weak, sickly kitten, to a strong, happy kitten.

She's now gaining 4 ounces a week, but is still about 2 weeks behind growth wise, so we'll keep her for another 3 weeks or so before she's old enough to go back to the shelter to be spayed and put up for adoption. She's a great kitten - very playful, very cuddly - LOVES people, and is very well behaved. She'll definitely make an amazing pet for someone :)

I think that's about all that's happening with us at the moment. Coming up, we have our trip to Australia planned, and will be spending 5 days at Heron Island on the Barrier Reed which will be LOVELY, and we've also just planned christmas in Las Vegas with our friends Craig and Sarah who live in Phoenix, Arizona which will be fun!

I'll update again in another few weeks probably :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The last week in photos

Long weekend at Yosemite

Picked up new tiny foster kitten on Thursday

Went to a Republican rally promoting Arnie and got to shake his hand!

More details when I get time!

Friday, August 25, 2006

General update

Just an update since it's been a while! I did my first Accounting exam last week, and all went well. It was an online exam, so obviously open book, and only worth 5%, but I got 90.7% which was nice. There's 4 of those though, so altogether worth 20%, so definitely worth trying to do well at!

I thought it was fairly easy and a little disappointed at "only" getting 91%, but I have a few contacts from my class that I speak to, and two got in the 60% range, one got 88%, and one of them has dropped the subject (she's full time) because it was too much, so I certainly feel pretty pleased! I was really scared of this subject, and while I realise I NEVER want to be an accountant, and it requires a lot of work, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, and I'm kind of enjoying it.

Actually the thing I'm enjoying is reading through the last page of each module first which has everything you should know by the end of the chapter, and understanding nothing, then doing the module, reading through it again, and actually knowing and understanding all of the objectives for that module. It's kind of proof at how much I'm learning each week, and it amazes me how much new stuff I can cram into my brain each week :) It's kind of feedback that what I'm doing is well worth it.

Anyway, so in other news, next weekend is a long weekend over here, so we're off to Yosemite National Park and we'll camp there for 2 nights, so we're really looking forward to that! We bought a book last weekend which had the 100 best hikes of Yosemite, so we'll have a good look through that and figure out what we really want to see.

We've also booked flights back to Australia for the end of November/start of December. I think we arrive on November 24th or something like that, and come back on December 8th. We'll spend a night in Sydney, the first weekend in Brisbane catching up with Andrew's family, the week at somewhere nice and relaxing (as in an actual holiday!!!!), the next weekend in Brisbane with my side of the family, a few weekdays in Canberra catching up with people there, then come home. So keep your diaries free!! :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Coolest. Film clip. Ever.

Go to this website of Swedish bank OK Go and check out the film clip for the song "Here it goes again" which is on the front page.

It's so well done! So original, fun to watch, cleverly choreographed and the song is really catchy as well. I've already watched it about 5 times today and I'm sure I'll watch it a few more times tomorrow :)

The website in general is fun for a browse if you have some spare time. :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ho hum

Very busy. Working, studying, working, studying... Both are taking up a lot of time! Then, in between that I fit in some kitty playing time. That's about my entire life at the moment!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Lily posing :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Introducing Lily

Here's the latest addition to the family - Lily, a 10 week old kitten we adopted from the shelter. The poor little baby ended up at the shelter after she rode about 40k's in the undercarriage of a car before the people driving the car parked and discovered her! She was quite dehydrated and absolutely terrified.

Stumpy had been driving me nuts last week when I start working - trying to play at all hours when I was trying to sleep. And play involves attacking my legs, putting her paws under the sheets and trying to claw my back... Not very pleasant! So I was exhausted from working again, and spending all evening studying, then getting barely any sleep - certainly not much quality sleep! I mean, Stumpy is an awesome cat, she's a simply wonderful companion, she walks on a leash, plays fetch and generally is just a lovely cat, but this was too much. She's in her "terrible two's" stage, and has lots of energy to burn!

So we adopted a little friend for her on the weekend :) There was a couple of kittens who'd been there for a while who I really liked, but they'd all been adopted (even the ones that weren't at the top of my adoption list!), and there was barely any kittens there.

I was thinking that maybe we would have to wait and endure more sleepless nights, but they mentioned a really shy kitten who couldn't come out of her cage since she was so shy. I looked in her cage and saw this little face staring out at me with big eyes. I put my hand in, and she immediately rolled over so I could rub her belly, and started purring. I pulled my hand back, and she stood up and walked toward me while purring and rubbing up against my hand. She did the same for Andrew, and I knew this was our girl!

So the introductions have gone really well. We've had Lily for only 5 days, and while Lily often sleeps in her safe place in the spare room where she was confined for the first couple of days, she comes downstairs or we bring her downstairs, she spends ages going nuts playing with toys and running around and being chased by Stumpy :)

They've started wrestling, and we were a bit worried that Stumpy was being too rough, but today Lily was kicking Stumpy in the head back, and batting out at Stumpy's legs as she walks by :) And Lily walks up to Stumpy and rubs against her, and Stumpy licks her in return.

So they certainly seem pretty happy with each other, and I think Stumpy is enjoying having a new little sister! I haven't been woken up to her attacking me the last couple of nights, so that's excellent!! I do wake to her chasing Lily around, but that's just my mothering instinct :) My sleep is improving dramatically!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Quick update

Started work full time this week. It went really well, the people are lovely, I was busy all week, the work is varied, the company looks after its staff (provide cereal, milk, fruit, snacks, tea and coffee, and provide lunch on a Wednesday), I have a great desk set up - my own cube, a nice work laptop, and have had an ergonomic assessment so everything is comfortable. Hours are flexible, just as long as you do your 8 hours. I think I'll be very happy there!

Between that and study, I'm pretty bloody busy and don't have much free time!! The poor kitty is getting bored from having nobody at home and is going through the cat equivalent of the "terrible 2's" I think! We're going back to the shelter today to look at getting a friend for her, so she has someone to hang with during the day - I think that will help her a great deal.

Andrew's flight back from Australia get in in a little over 3 hours - yayyyyy!!!!! :-) We've been invited to 3 parties today as well!! We haven't been to any in ages, so typical to have 3 in one day. I have to be anti-social and just wait and see how much study I get done though! Otherwise not much to report. All's pretty quiet...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stinking hot

According to AccuWeather, yesterday's high in Mountain View was 38 degrees celsius, which is now the new record high!

Today looks just as stinky hot, with the top temp. due to be something similar. I'm kind of glad I'm inside studying! Gives me something to do without leaving the house. I'm also doing my bit for the electrical shortages since we're on a Stage 1 power emergency, mainly due to a major power plant tripping because of the heat! I've started studying early as the dining room table is the best place to study, and it's too hot of an afternoon, so it's not yet midday and have got a good chunk of study done while it's still not too stinking hot at the table! I'll try to avoid the fan until I become desperate. I have a jug of ice water in front of me which is also helping.

I can imagine Andrew's enjoying being in the Australian winter while all this is happening!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Due to popular request...

Here's some pics of the flowers! Since Andrew has the digital camera, I took these with my phone, and figured out to pair it up with the Mac and get the photos off it (which I'm very excited about!). So the photo quality isn't the best, but it's not too bad, given it's night time, and I'm relying on crappy US lamp lighting.

So here they are!

Happy Anniversary to us :)

This time a year ago we were getting married!! Well... it's 4pm Saturday July 22 here, and we got married a year ago on July 23 (a Saturday) around 4pm. So, a year ago works for me!

Unfortunately Andrew's in Australia for it which is a shame, but he ordered me some beautiful pink lilies (my favourite!!!) in a really pretty glass vase that just arrived. They are absolutely gorgeous, so at least while he's away I can look at them and smile!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Woohoo I got a job!

I signed up for a new temping group on Monday, and they called yesterday and asked if I could do a phone interview today. So I had a phone interview at 10 with the manager of the area, another one at 1pm with a girl I'll be working with, went back to the agency at 2pm so the lady coordinating the job through the agency could meet with me, then another phone interview at 4pm! Between that I've also volunteered at the shelter, so it's been quite the busy day and I haven't got done anywhere near as much as I needed to!

But I got the job though which is fantastic. The company is VMware, which is a software company, and according to Andrew, gives me geek cred :-) The position is a Marketing Assistant, and I'll be involved with organising conferences, seminars and other things like that, helping out with projects for the marketing people, and also some administrative tasks. It sounds as though there's great opportunities for extra tasks and advancement, the people sound fantastic, and the company itself seems like a really good place to work. It's a long term contract, with the view to go permanent in the next 6 months or so.

They are 11km from home, so will be an easy ride to work which is nice!

Did I mention Woohoo? :-) I start next Tuesday, and also start uni officially next week, so that will be quite a busy week! Andrew is flying out to Australia tomorrow (Thursday) night for a little over a week for work to go to a conference in Canberra, so while it'll be quiet without him and I probably won't sleep very well, it should give me the chance to sort out a good work/uni balance and start getting myself into a routine.

I have so many things I need to do for my last few days as a stay at home wife!

Back to school

I'm going back to studying next week! I got in to a Bachelor of Business through the University of Southern Queensland which I will be studying externally, part time over here in the US.

I've already started since I have the textbooks and subject overviews and so far it's really interesting! I'm doing an Organisational Behaviour subject, and what they're talking about I can relate to in a business sense from actually being in the workforce. The other subject is some sort of Accounting subject (I haven't started on that yet), and it looks a little scary, but if I can have one interesting and one not-so-interesting subject each semester, it should be good!

It'll take 6 years to finish if I do it continuously, but hopefully when we come back to Australia (whenever that may be), I can study full time for a bit to knock off some extra subjects.

So if I suddenly start blogging hourly, you'll know I'm procrastinating. :-)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Our cat thinks she's a dog!

She enjoys her walks on a leash, and yesterday morning she dropped a soft ball she likes playing with on the bed after Andrew had gone to work. I threw it for her, and she brought it back and dropped it on the ground next to me! I threw it again and she brought it back again... She did this 8 or 9 times, which I thought was pretty cool.

I thought she would never do it again, but this morning, I threw the ball for her and she started playing with it, then started bringing it back to us again! She would leap up onto the bed with it and drop it near us. I think we played fetch with her for about half an hour or so. So now, Andrew's really late for work... :-)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Applying for jobs...

I've applied for a few jobs around the traps, and found a couple of jobs that have sounded really interesting. The first position I ended up going in to the company to say hello, and found out they'd already filled it, but forgotten to take it off the website - d'oh!

The most recent one that I've found sounds really interesting, it's at a place I really want to work, and I think I fulfill all of the requirements for the position, and could do well in this position. I heard back from a recruiter within 24 hours of putting in for it asking a couple of questions, so hopefully that's a good sign!

So please keep all fingers and toes crossed for me :-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mushroom risotto recipe

This is one of my favourite recipes, so I thought I better blog about it so I don't lose it :) It's from the AIS Survival From the Fittest cookbook, which has a bunch of recipes from it including this one on the AIS website.

Mixed Mushroom Risotto

olive or canola oil spray
1 leek, halved lengthways, sliced
500 g mixed mushrooms (e.g. button, swiss, shitake), sliced
2 cups arborio rice
1½ litres MAGGI All Natural Chicken or Vegetable Liquid Stock
100 g enoki mushrooms
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on diagonal

Spray a large saucepan with oil and heat. Add leek and all mushrooms except enoki and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add stock, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is almost all absorbed. Add enoki mushrooms and cheese and stir well to combine - it should look slightly creamy. Garnish with spring onion and serve with steamed greens or salad. Season to taste.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Big day for Stumpy!

She went exploring outside on her new harness and leash for about 20 minutes, and she handled it all really well! I carried her to a quiet part of the complex behind our townhouse, and she sniffed, explored, watched a hummingbird hover just above her head, and scratched on some trees. I picked her up a couple of times when she went a bit too far into the bushes, and she was purring whenever I picked her up, so was obviously pretty happy!

When I brought her back in, she had a drink, then settled down for a nap quite contentedly.

I came back from the mailbox just now, and our neighbour Carol was on our doorstep (our doorsteps are joined) with Cleo - the mother of the kittens we fostered a little while ago (Carol adopted Cleo, which was great!). Stumpy was sitting in the window watching, so I let her come out as well, and her and Cleo went nose to nose, Stumpy gave a little his, they went nose to nose again, and all was good! Looks like Stumpy has a new friend now :-)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

What nightmares are made of

Ok, so I have a fear of dentists. I lost my front tooth when I was 6 or 7 I guess, and saw orthodontists for a period of 8-10 years, and had numerous operations trying to get the adult tooth down and then eventually removing it, getting braces, and getting a false tooth on a plate in there.

I still have a lingering fear in my head from so many dentist/orthodontist appointments.

So having the dental implant recently was a big step for me. It's all gone fairly well so far, but last weekend my gum was getting sore at the bone graft site where the false tooth sits. Then a bit of white was showing. Then the bit of white got larger and larger throughout the week and I realised I had bone coming through my gum. I couldn't get into the surgeon until today, so had been freaking out all week that the bone graft hadn't taken and my body was rejecting it.

So at the dentists, he looked at it, and said it was wobbly, and just a flake of bone (not the whole bone graft). So he went away and came back and started toward my mouth with A PAIR OF PLIERS!!!!!! A pair of freaking pliers!!!!!

I freaked out, jumped a foot inthe air, and cringed into the far side of the chair and got as far away fro those pliers as I could. If there hadn't have been something blocking me I would have jumped out of the chair. He tried to tell me that he would talk me through it. I asked if it would hurt. He asked if I would like some numbing gel. Shit.

So he gave me some numbing gel, then put the pliers in and ripped out the bit of bone. I didn't really feel much thank god, but ohhhh man the whole thing is going to give me friggin nightmares for weeks.

Andrew thought my reaction was hilarious and so couldn't stop giggling. Once I calmed down a bit I also realised it was kinda funny, and we giggled all the way home once it was all over and done with.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dammit, I got tagged! :-)

4 jobs I have had: bar wench, basketball coach at summer camp, fruit picker, car salesperson (how varied can you get?)

4 movies I could watch over and over: Rocky Horror Picture Show, Princess Bride, Wallace and Gromit, Lord of the Rings

4 places I have lived: Brisbane, London, Edinburgh, Mountain View (California)

4 TV shows I love to watch:
Family Guy, Simpsons, American Dad, Sex and the City (only intellectual shows...)

4 places I have been on vacation:
Lady Elliot Island, Noosa, Sydney, Singapore (man, that was hard - I need to go on holiday more often apparently!)

4 websites I visit each day: Transitions, The Australian, Google Reader, Google

4 favorite foods: Any good Indian food, roast with yorkshire puddings, fresh seafood, chocolate (mmmmm I'm hungry now!)

4 places I would rather be right now: in Miriam Vale (Qld) cuddling my nephew, lying on a beach in Hawaii, in France about to watch le Tour, sitting at that great sidewalk place in Singapore eating fantastic Indian watching the world go by

4 favorite bands: Don't have favourite bands, just lots of songs that I really like

4 people I am tagging: The lovely Shona, the happily preggers Terah, the super-speedy Aki, and the bestest cousin, Kylie

PS - you guys have to put this in your blog/diary with your answers (obviously...), then tag 4 more people :)

The joys of having a "kitten"

Our little Stumpy was a bit of a pain last night... I was out pretty much all day yesterday, so she didn't get much play time, so decided she'd play all night!

She's generally been really good at night - just sleeps at our feet and doesn't disturb us. One of her favourite games though has been pouncing on our wiggling toes under the sheet in bed. She has a ball chasing after our feet, but lately has discovered if she wants to play that game and we don't, all she needs to do is pounce on our feet anyway and stick her teeth and claws in, and the feet move anyway!

I don't know how many times I woke up last night squealing in pain because she was sinking her claws into my feet and legs! The vet thinks she could be as young as 8 or 9 months still, so I can't blame her.

She's a kitten at heart and in her mind, but her body is still recovering from the car accident, so we can't go nuts playing with her and wearing her out which is a shame. She loves to play, and will play on her own, and if we're playing with her, she'll play until we stop, and we stop pretty early as she looks as though her pelvis is aching/hurting if she plays too long. After a long play session, she sits with her right leg splayed out a fair bit, so we try not to play so hard or for too long that it gets to that point!

I'm spending plenty of time playing with her today, that's for sure! If she doesn't sleep tonight, she'll be banished from the bedroom!

Friday, June 23, 2006

How ironic

I can't get work as an Administrative Assistant at Google because I don't have a degree (yes, this is required), but Andrew can work in a tech role without a degree. Sheesh!

In 6 years time when I get my Bachelor of Business (while working full time in a preferably project management related, but probably admin role at this rate), I might be good enough to be an Admin Assistant at Google. :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer weather has arrived

And it's 33 degrees just in the bedroom at 5:40pm. Luckily it's a few degrees cooler downstairs. I might sleep down there tonight!

In other news, here's another Stumpy photo - awwwww.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Two big events!

First of all, I got accepted into a Bachelor of Business through the University of Southern Queensland, so I'll be studying externally, part time for the next 6 years! After nearly 10 years out of school (man, I suddenly feel old...) I've finally found something I'm good at, and a degree that will help me go further, so we'll see how it goes!

The second thing is that we adopted Genevieve - the injured kitty we were fostering. She just has the most wonderful personality of a cat, so incredibly sweet and loving while not being overbearing, and she settled into our home and lives so easily while we were fostering her, that I couldn't bear to give her back. I've realised I really miss having a regular cat in my life, so to have a cat we've been able to choose is really nice. Andrew didn't really want a cat, but lucky he's the most wonderful person in the world and let me keep this little girl.

So it'll be nice to have a purring fuzzball on my lap while I'm studying, and keeping me calm when I get stressed with it all!

So here she is - our new baby :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lovely Spring arvo

We rode our bikes into the park near the local library this afternoon and met our friend Tanya and Dan, and Louise and Sean. Andrew and I read for a bit while we waited for the others, then played Cleudo (called Clue over here...) which I haven't played since I was a kid! I forgot how fun it is :) I also forgot half the rules and the strategy, but that's ok!

After that we played frisbee for a while, then had a late lunch at a local sandwich place, then rode home.

It was great way to spend a Spring afternoon.

Poor Stumpy

We took her back to the shelter yesterday to get her a shot to fix her tapeworms that she seems to have. I put her on the ground so she could walk around to show the vet tech how well she's walking now. He watched her for a minute and said "uh-oh, I think she's pregnant". She has a little round belly, which is most noticeable when you hold her up around her front legs and let her back legs dangle down.

Her nipples are poking out which I can't believe I didn't notice before. I guess the last cat we had was Cleo who was nursing and had huge nipples, so we were kinda used to that.

So she must have gotten pregnant just before she had her accident, since she's been at the shelter almost a month, and cats have 60 day pregnancies. Any further along and I guess she would have lost the babies when she got hit by the car.

Because having babies would be too dangerous for her given her injuries, I have to take her back to the shelter tomorrow to get spayed and the pregnancy taken care of. I guess they'll decide then whether she's recovered enough to go up for adoption or whether they want us to keep her for longer. Poor little girl!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Very observant we are

Stumpy (aka Genevieve) was behind the couch tonight, so I poked my hear around the couch to see what she was up to, and lo and behold there was a painting behind there. Command Adhesive hooks just don't work in this country, and at some point, this hook obviously failed, and fell down behind the couch. Funny we never noticed it was missing! We even thought that wall looked bare and so put another picture up there. No idea how long it's been behind the couch for!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What broken pelvis??

I carried Genevieve downstairs tonight so she could hang with me while I was watching tv, and she just raced around everywhere exploring then went tearing up and down the stairs. After that she managed to jump onto the couch and back off again before I could stop her!

Cats really are resilient. She seems happy to be running around and doesn't seem in pain, so I'll just have to make sure she only runs around for short periods then confine her to rest again.

She's currently decided she loves Andrew and is following him around like a shadow! She's running under his feet as he's walking just waiting for him to stop so she can get pats while purring non-stop.

Monday, June 05, 2006

New foster kitty

We have another foster kitty for a couple of weeks. Her name is Genevieve and the poor thing was hit by a car and found injured at a nearby school. She suffered a broken pelvis and a damaged tail that has since been amputated.

The broken pelvis isn't TOO bad. It's not good, but it wasn't completely smashed, more fractured, with I think one small broken bit and it's ok enough that she can walk, albeit gingerly. So we'll keep her for probably 2-3 weeks while she recovers more. She'll pretty much be confined to our spare room so she doesn't move around too much, but she'll get more room to at least be able to stretch out and relax than at the shelter. She'll also get lots of people love which the poor little thing needs!

Oh, and the stitches in her tail are purple and look very cute :)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kirkland, Part 2

Now where was I up to... Monday in Kirkland after arriving, we did the harbour tour. Tuesday I had an easy morning. I think I must be up to Tuesday night!

Tuesday evening we went along to the Space Needle which is a tall structure built for the 1962 Seattle World Fair. It has an observation deck at the top as well as a revolving restaurant. So we had dinner at the restaurant, and the food and view were just lovely! We both had half a chook (it was huge!) stuffed with garlic and served with garlic mashed potatoes, spinach and wild boar bacon, and just so good. I took what I couldn't eat home and had it for lunch the next day :) Because we had dinner at 7:30, the sun was just beginning to go down, and by 8:30/9pm we were watching a beautiful sunset as we were finishing our drinks.

After dinner we went up to the observation deck where the sun was truly setting, and looked over the city including the snow covered Mt Rainier.

Wednesday I went into Seattle and to the Pike Place Markets. Apparently in 1907 Seattlites got sick of paying middlemen a fortune for produce, so a small market was set up where local producers could sell directly to the public. It was so popular, the farmers had sold out of everything within a couple of hours. It has since grown, and is quite large, open every day and has a range of fresh fruit and veg, fresh seafood, flowers, art and crafts as well as entertainers singing and dancing for some spare change.

I also had lunch at a random seafood place where a scene from Sleepless in Seattle was apparently filmed. I have yet to rewatch the movie and try to pick the scene.

After that I went to the local IMAX movie theatre, and watched Deep Sea 3D, which was about the ocean. And in 3D. Who woulda thunk it? It was pretty cool, and the scenery was pretty breathtaking.

From there I went down to the local Kirkland downtown markets, which was like the Pike Place Markets, only a lot smaller. Lots of locally produced jams, jellies, baked goods and the like.

Thursday I was looking through my guide book and I noticed that the Burke Museum was free on the first Thursday of the month, and lo and behold, it was the first Thursday of the month. So I toddled along to check that out. The Burke Museum is at Washington University and is a Museum of Natural History and Culture. It has dinosaurs, and the history of them in the Washington area, bones that have been found and so on, how the state of Washington has changed over the past few ages in time due to ice ages and the like. It also had a lot about seventeen Pacific Rim cultures including local Indians, Samoans, Maoris and others I can't remember.

It wasn't a big museum, and it didn't take long to explore the whole thing, so I was pleased I only had to pay for parking...

After that I went out to check out a local winery, and discovered I'd just missed a tour, and the next one was nearly an hour away. So I was going to go home, and figured it was a waste of time to just go home after going all the way out there (the 30 minute drive took me an hour thanks to traffic), so saw Columbia Winery across the road and decided to pop in there. I asked them about tours, and the lady said she'd get someone to cover the wine tasting area and take me for a tour straight away. There was a couple nearby, so she asked if they'd like a tour as well, and the three of us got a personalised tour of the winery. She took us all around the production area and explained the whole process, and was happy to show us everything, was really friendly and very informative. After that we did some tastings, and because she liked us and it was quiet, she let us try the premium wines and some other of her favourites that are usually reserved for those who pay and those in their wine clubs so that was nice!

From there, I picked up Andrew and we went to the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame which was interesting. Brought back lots of memories from childhood for both of us!! So many movies to see again and books to read again... :)

Friday I pretty much just spent the day getting organised for the trip back. There wasn't anything else major I wanted to see, so just did the washing, cleaned the place up, packed the bags, and read for a bit.

I collected Andrew from work and we went in to Seattle to do the Seattle Underground Tour. Seattle has quite an interesting history. The people who first settled it were idiots basically. When they settled, they didn't take tides into consideration, and started building and planned the town based on low tide. So everytime the tide came in, everything got wet and muddy. The sewerage system was bad to say the least, and every time the tide came in, the town became a muddy stinky mess. Though it wasn't very fortunate at the time, the town burnt down in 1889 which was great for the town. They could rebuild, and do things like sewerage properly, and build it higher. Unfortunately the shopkeepers were too keen to rebuild their shops, so started rebuilding before the streets got raised. So when the streets finally were raised, there was a few metres difference between the roads and the pavements. The picture below gives an idea on how it looks/looked.

So people could walk around a block on the low part of the pavement, but to cross the road they had to get up to the higher part. Because the local council spared no expense (ahem), they had to climb LADDERS that were placed against the brick wall up to the road. Rather than filling in the sidewalk, they just built over it, and so the underground system was established. So the sidewalks are hollow, and the tour of the underground is really interesting. During prohibition, the underground was mostly unused, so became a popular place to store moonshine, and have speakeasy's. During this time it was also very popular for gambling, and "ladies of the night" and basically anything else illegal!

The tour itself was excellent. The guides were funny and informative, the history was very interesting, the tour went for 90 minutes and was only $11 - the cheapest tour we've probably been on, and the best!

A lot of the buildings that were built in this time after the fire are still standing, despite a number of earthquakes since. They were certainly built to last back then! They also made them fire proof after learning from their earlier mishap.

A very enjoyable evening!

On Saturday we started our drive home. We took a 2 1/2 hour detour to go see Mt Saint Helens, which is a volcano that last erupted in 1980 after being set off by an earthquake. It was covered in snow, which made it look impressive, but it also had a lot of low lying cloud so it just looked like a regular mountain which was a bit of a shame. In the valleys below though, you could see where streams of hot lava "burnt" through the rock and trees which was quite impressive.

Once we got back to the highway, we kept going, and had a good drive and did 12 hours of driving (including the detour), which left today (Sunday) with an easy 4 hours of driving to get home. A total of a 2099 mile (3378km) round trip. Well worth it though!

The rest of the photos fro mthe trip are up at our photo website.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Smug problems in the Prius

Our Prius was emitting a lot of smug tonight as we were driving back from Seattle to the apartment we're staying in. So I wound down the window and yelled at some cars next to me about how crap their cars were (and also because they were driving stupidly). Satisfied that the Prius smug levels had reduced enough, I wound the windows back up (at the push of a button of course, I didn't actually WIND heaven forbid), and the smug levels returned to normal. :-)


We went and saw X Men III last night and it was pretty good. I wouldn't say it was amazing, but it's left itself open for more, so I'm sure there will be.

One bit that was just stupid and I HAD to blog about was the scene on the bridge (and no this won't give anything away). Magneto is on the bridge with all the mutants and it's bright as day, he turns around and all of a sudden it's night time and the cars all have their headlights on, and the laboratory is ablaze with spotlights and things. They did not explain now it suddenly got to be dark, it just suddenly was.

They either cut out a huge scene from the movie, or filmed the first bit in daylight, then realised the effects look cooler in the dark, so just hoped nobody watching the movie would realise the time of day just completely changed. What sort of director would be proud of releasing a movie with such a glaring mistake?

There were more things I thought were just silly, but it's a movie and they need to use some sort of creative license so I'll leave it there! :)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Arrived in Kirkland, Washington

Whew, after 1600km, we've made it to Kirkland. We've driven through spectacular forests, and past breathtaking coastlines. It's been long, but gee it's been worth it!

Friday we got through San Francisco no problems, despite leaving at 6pm through the big city on the Friday of a long weekend! Friday night we stayed in a motel, then Saturday morning we backtracked a bit to get to the coast road and drive up the coast as much as we could. The coast highway was literally right on the coast, so we got great views of the ocean on our left, and rivers and forests on our right.

The Redwood forests we drove through were amazing. The trees were literally right next to the road (you wouldn't want to lose control and go off the road, because you WILL hit a large tree!!), and the forests went on and on. We got photos of course, so will share them when we get them up.

We camped on Saturday night in the Redwood National Park amongst the Redwoods which was lovely. The campground was really well set up, and each site had the persons name and arrival and departure information on it which was useful, and the tent sites had parking for your car, a fire pit, wooden table and chairs, bear proof food locker (!!), then a nice big softer area to pitch the tent. Each site was also surrounded by trees and bushes, so was semi closed from the next site which was nice. It started raining just as we got near the camp site, but never got too heavy which was fine.

Sunday we actually managed to sleep in until 9am for some reason - I didn't sleep well, but as soon as it got light I seemed to sleep like a log, despite people waking up, breakfasting and packing up all around us! So we wanted to go walking through the forest a bit, but we still had a longish drive ahead, it was sprinkling and we were a bit behind schedule, so we just packed up and pressed on by about 10am.

Driving through Oregon, the landscape changed to big fir trees which were also beautiful. There was aso lots of big soaring hawk/eagle type birds out constantly circling, so they were impressive to watch as well.

We made it to Portland by about 4pm, and had dinner with Steve and Patty, some lovely people Andrew knows through Debian, and they were kind enough to take us into downtown Portland as well, and we went to an awesome book store called Powells which was huuuuge and had an amazing range of books.

Then Monday morning (this morning) I woke up at 2am with a migraine which was painfully horrible. I got blurry vision while I was driving on Saturday morning, which for me in the past has been the first sign of a mgraine, so Andrew drove for a while, and I took some drugs, but it was just a headache which mostly faded away a few hours later. I think concentrating on driving for so long, tense shoulders because I seem to clench my arms when I drive, sleeping badly while camping, then more driving set the migraine off this morning. I noticed my eyes going fuzzy while I was reading in bed last night, but thought maybe it was just tiredness, so put the book straight down and went to sleep. When I woke up I rolled around in agony for an hour or so before I managed to get back to sleep, and my head and shoulders have been very stiff and sore today, and my head's been all fuzzy. I finally got some migraine drugs this arvo, and took some of them, and my head finally feels a lot better. Hopefully I can get a massage to release some of the tension in my neck and shoulders and just take it easy tomorrow and I'll be back to normal.

Today we managed to do a harbour tour of Seattle, and I've got lots more sightseeing planned, and plenty of evening stuff to do with Andrew after work (it was still light at 9pm this evening!), so hopefully we'll have time to squeeze it all in!

Signing off from Kirkland...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Road trip map

This is kind of the route we're taking on our road trip. Click on the map a couple of times to make it a bit bigger.

On the way up we'll be going right on the coast most of the way and stopping in the Redwood National Park (probably the dark green blob near the grey blob on the coast just below the border of California and Oregon), then joining onto the Google route continuing to Portland then up to Kirkland, Washington. On the way back we'll pretty much take the inland route on Google Earth shown.

1400k trip each way, and it'll be a bit longer on the way up since we're taking the longer route, but I think it'll be worth it :) Lucky our lovely Prius likes long trips, and is a great car for that sort of thing!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Upcoming triathlons

I've found a novice triathlon series which has 3 races in the series. They are in the middle of June, July and August. The distances are 400 yard swim, 11 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run, which roughly translates into 360m/18k/5k.

That sort of distance is certainly achievable without getting my heart rate too high, but I really should do some training so my heart doesn't explode in shock at having to work again :) Because it's aimed at novices and is non-competitive - final time is given to you, but there are no ranks or recordings of times, it should be the right environment for me to get back into tri's without feeling too overwhelmed.

So my first big goal is to try to do something each week day. Even if it's only a short walk. I need to get back into the habit of exercising. I'm not doing anything of note exercise wise, so getting back into just getting out there is going to be a big struggle. I've been trying to do it for ages, but I keep finding excuses.

When I got dressed this morning I put on "jogging clothes", but haven't managed to actually get out yet despite that it's now almost 1pm and I really don't have much planned for the day. I will go soon though I promise...

If I don't mention what exercise I'm doing, please nag me!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hurrah, ceramics!

So we've got our finished ceramics pieces back now! They look pretty cool as well :) From left is Beth's fruit bowl, Tanya's plate at the back, Louise's wine holder at the front, and my water jug at the right.

And my water jug from the other side.

Not bad for our first go at this sort of thing :) We learnt a bit about what works and what doesn't, so our next pieces should be better!

Tour de Cure amusement

We did the Tour de Cure charity ride today. We did the 25k option and it was a really nice leisurely "stroll" around Palo Alto which is a very classy area. The houses around there are gorgeous, so it was nice to go through that area while riding and actually get to look at them!

After the ride we got some flavoured water that they were giving away, and it had this rather amusing label on the side:

How often does flavoured water HAVE arsenic in it????

The other thing that tickled our funny bone was the following instructions that came with a little cheapie pedometer we got given:

The whole thing is amusing, but the Operation Manual is the best :)

Book update

I haven't mentioned the ol' books for a while! I haven't stopped reading though.

12th book was A man called Dave, the last in a series of three, about Dave Pelzer who was abused as a child. It was really interesting to see how he turned out - did well, but still obviously suffered from it late in life.

What else did I read.... I'm reading the Chronicles of Narnia, and so far have got through the Magicians Nephew, The Horse and his Boy, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian. Do they count as 4 books or is the whole thing one book?? I'm going to call it 4 books :D Anyway, so they're a nice read.

Blue Dahlia, Black Rose and Red Lily were 3 Nora Roberts books from the In the Garden series. They were really good, once again a nice read. Nora Roberts is good at doing "nice" books.

I'm currently trying to read 4 books which isn't really working. I should probably try to do one at a time... I'm reading Tracks - A woman's solo trek across 1700 miles of Australian Outback. I'm also reading The Lost German Slave Girl - a book based on a real story of a German girl who became a slave back in 1800's New Orleans. I'm still finishing the books in the Narnia series, and we also bought a book about the Freemasons - their history and who they are. I'm trying to hold off really getting into this one until I at least finish the others :)

So I think I'm up to 19 completed books at the moment for the year.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Look what I made Mom!

Today's fun for the day was a trip with a couple of other girls to Petroglyph which is a Ceramic Lounge Studio. You pay about $9 to sit there, then choose a piece of pottery from a fairly large range (purchase of pottery is extra) and paint it. They provide a large range of paints, brushes and a few other random tools as well as stencils, stamps and other stuff like that.

So we spent nearly 3 hours there working on our masterpieces, and it was good fun! It was nice to just sit around chatting, relaxing and painting. It was fairly quiet, so I'm not sure how much of a moneyspinner it is. There was just us four and a bunch of maybe 8-10 old ladies. Apparently they can do kids parties, but I don't know how children, fragile breakable things and enough concentration to finish a piece without getting bored and fidgety would mix together!

Our stuff is now getting glazed and fired, and we'll be able to pick them up Saturday evening, so will provide pictures then.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Kitty update

Well, all the kittens have been adopted! They were up for adoption 2 Thursdays ago. Bella went on Saturday, then the following Wednesday (last week) Frodo and Mojo got adopted together, and Shadow went to his new home later that day also. Little Byron was the last to go, and the poor little guy was really clinging to mum after all of his siblings had gone, but he went to a new home on Friday.

Now it's just Cleo looking for a home, and it looks like our neighbour Carol is going to adopt her tomorrow! Carol came to visit them all when we had them and loved Cleo and her gorgeous personality and expressive eyes, so that will be wonderful!

It also sounds as though the kittens went to really good homes, so it's a happy ending for the family who were dumped and previously unwanted! :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Summer is coming!!

It's 6pm and still 28 degrees - phew! We're thinking of going for a swim in the complex pool to cool off since we have another couple of hours of daylight left :)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Road trip!

We've got a long weekend coming up, so we're taking the opportunity for Andrew to work in Kirkland, Washington and we'll drive there and back. Washington State (as opposed to Washington DC) is 2 states up, and is a 12-15 hour drive. So we'll probably leave on the Friday night before the long weekend, drive as far as we can that night, stay wherever, then on Saturday should be a shortish drive to Redwood National Park (in California) and camp there overnight. Redwood National Park is right on the coast, so you can camp in amongst the huge Redwood trees while looking out to the ocean. Sounds pretty damn good to me!

Sunday we'll pass through the state of Oregon, and then be in Kirkland by Monday. We're happy to just take our time, and stop wherever takes our fancy and see some pretty stuff along the way.

That week we'll stay in Kirkland, which is right near Seattle - the capital of Washington - and head back the weekend after. We'll have to drive a bit harder to get back in a reasonable time on Sunday for Andrew to recover and go back to work on Monday, but we'll go the inland route rather than the coastal route which will be a bit faster.

If anyone has been to Seattle, or done this drive and would like to recommend anything in particular, please let us know! We'd love to hear any suggestions. I'll have the week to myself wandering about Seattle and Kirkland, and seen a few things I'd like to do.

Once we do this, we will have driven through all of the states on the western coast of the US, and we will have pretty much have driven from top to bottom of the US on this side!

The map below shows the states I've been to, and will have done once we get back from this trip.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ha! I now have authorisation to work...

Unbelievable. I went to Immigration this morning to pout and stamp my feet because Tanya got her work authorisation permit after a month, and I'm still waiting for mine.

I expected a "I'm sorry, but you'll just have to wait". What I got was "Oh really? Well I'll just print you out one right now". Simple as that. It was obvious I was eligible, and I have waited a long time, so she just did some forms, I took it to the cashier, who did something else, then sent me to someone else who took my photo on the spot, then they laminated it while we waited, and it was done!

It's only valid until January of next year whereas our visas are valid until October of next year, but it's just supposed to tide me over until they finish processing my "real" authoriation card. So I can now work. I can't believe it was that "easy" (the term being used lightly).

I'll need to wait 10 days though for them to get their act together, then I can go to Social Security, and apply for a Social Security number, then I can start working! If Social Security has to go back to Immigration and request secondary verification that I'm allowed to be here, it will probably take a couple of months, but if I'm in their systems, it'll only take a couple of weeks. So I can at least start applying for jobs now, but I can't get paid until I get my SSN, and if I go through an agency for contract work, they probably won't accept me without an SSN.

So I still need to be patient, but at least it's getting closer!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fred the squirrel

We have a fair few squirrels around our home, and I've been putting nuts out on our back balcony for a while, and we have a squirrel who comes daily to check for nuts, and as long as I keep more nuts out he keeps coming back!

This afternoon I put nuts out for him 4 times so he was a very happy squirrel! I've decided to call him Fred - 'cause that's a good squirrel name :) I even managed to get a few pics of him today. Fred realised what I was up to and the second last time he came he just shoved 3 nuts in his mouth and ran before I could get his photo :)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Warning: ranty blog post coming up

So it's May 9th. I put in my application for my work permit (which I'm eligible for) on November 30 which is over 5 months ago. I'm STILL waiting!

Now to really rub it in, Tanya who is another E3 wife put in her application less a month ago, and got her work authorisation card today!!!! Andrew also got an email from another E3 spouse, who also got his work permit in a really short time. Why does the US Government hate us????

It took ages to get a social security number (and we still don't have the card), Andrew got his drivers license in early February and it still hasn't been sent out (apparently they have to check with Immigration he's allowed to be here or something....), and now this takes forever, where others are getting theirs a lot sooner!

I don't know if it's because I did the application online as opposed to mailing the application in, or if they're just getting better at processing E3 dependent visas, but whatever the case is I'm incredibly annoyed and I'm off to Immigration to whinge at them on Friday.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Woohoo all nighter!

Ok, so maybe not as exciting as it sounds. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night. Yvette can partially confirm this as I was chatting to her on MSN at about 3am my time :)

I wasn't in too much pain, but I like sleeping on my right side which is the side they took the bone from and is a little tender.

My belly is also feeling quite unhappy with the drugs I'm taking. I'm taking my beta blockers (heart stuff), strong painkillers and antibiotics, which are all things I wouldn't take on an empty stomach. I'm also not eating huge amount and what I am eating is stuff like yoghurt, mashed potato, and stuff like that. I did manage some bread at about 4am though when my belly was feeling really dodgy. I can probably start eating harder stuff soon, just don't want to risk knocking any of the stitches (which are in the roof of my mouth near my front tooth, and extends to the front of my mouth up to my gums, and then along the back of the right part of my jaw right to where my wisdom teeth used to be. There's more stitches than I expected, so want to be careful for a few days to make sure everything has a good start to healing.

Anyone got any good any good anti-nausea remedies??

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Operation is done

My mouth is feeling a little sore, I assume the painkillers are beginning to wear off. I have a mouth full of gauze, and apparently the sites where they operated will ooze for a couple of days. Yay.

My head doesn't feel too fuzzy though, and the local anaesthetics are beginning to wear off, so am getting feeling back in my face. I don't feel as nauseous as when I got my wisdom teeth out so that's a bonus. Although I do remember feeling fairly fine when I first got home, then barfing hours later, so maybe that's still to come.

I'd like to sleep, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Will update again a bit later probably.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Operation tomorrow

Dum dum dummmmmm. I hate needles. I hate general anaesthetic. I hate feeling like crap. Sigh.

I have a false tooth on a plate, which I've had for about 9 years now, and was only supposed to last about 5 years or so. So my options were to get another plate (which is a little annoying), get a bridge (where they file down the 2 teeth on either side of the falsie, and use them as a "bridge" to hold the false tooth in place), or to get a dental implant. I don't like the idea of filing down 2 perfectly good teeth (that's kinda irreversible), so am getting the implant.

Because the bone has recessed a little (or something...) tomorrow's operation is to do a bone graft, taking bone down from where my wisdom teeth used to be, and shoving it up in the gap to build up the bone there. Once that's fully healed in 6 months or so, I get another operation to drill into the bone and put in a titanium screw, then once that's fully healed (another 6 months or so), they'll open it up again to screw a tooth onto the titanium screw bit.

Yay me...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's oh so quiet

It's strange to get home now and be greeted with silence. The kittens weren't noisy, but the mother cat Cleo would generally come down and greet me with meows, and the little guys would squeak when they saw me. If they were awake I would hear the patter of feet as they raced around upstairs.

Their operations went well this morning though, and I went to see them just after the last kitten was neutered. They were all on their sides with their tongues lolling out, and their little arms and legs were twitching. A couple were just beginning to come out of the anaesthetic, and were still twitching, but were responding a bit to my voice, and Bella, who had gone first was turning her head slightly towards me, and I could see she was trying really hard to focus her eyes on me.

Taking them back wasn't at all traumatic like I thought it might be. It helps that I can keep on seeing them until they get new homes, and even if they don't all get the sort of home I'd love them to have, it'll be much better then the stray life they would've led otherwise!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Kittens up for adoption in 2 days!

Well. The kittens are heading back to the shelter tomorrow to get desexed, then will be up for adoption on Thursday. They're 8 weeks, so old enough for their little op, but they just seem so little still! They're just babies!

I'll certainly miss them when they're gone, they've just been so much fun. They never had one accident outside the litter box, despite them being too young to use it when they first got here. They learnt fast, which I thought was amazing. Human babies can't manage that, and puppies can't either instinctively, but for some reason, kittens just know what to do.

The little guys have really kept us entertained with their antics. They tear around the house chasing each other, leaping, bounding, pouncing and squeaking. When they get tired, they generally just plop down and fall asleep wherever they are. I love that if I'm sitting near them when they fall asleep, they always crawl into my lap and snuggle up with me. One of the boys, Shadow, has become a real lap cat and loves to be nearby, and loves to be where the attention is. Very cute kitties. I hope they all find loving homes :(

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ride today

Woohooooo - finally, my first road ride in California! Can you believe it's taken this long? The weather has been so bad for so long, but it's finally gotten nice, and we met a girl Robin at dinner on Friday night who is another Googler, and also just moved to California from the East Coast. She's outdoorsy, and rides road bikes, so we organised to catch up for a ride.

We drove up to Skyline Boulevarde, which is up in the hills, and rode across the hill, so the ride was "undulating". My heart rate got a little too high (ave 125, max 150), but I feel confident that I won't drop dead if I do a slightly harder ride every now and again.

I forgot how much I love cycling, and really loved being out there. Andrew came along as well on his mountain bike, and did damn well. He has full on mtb tyres on his bike, so riding on the road up and down hills with that much rolling resistance would have been very hard work! He enjoyed it as well - it was hard not to with sucha nice day and beautiful scenery.

It was a good 90 minute or so ride, and we had a nice lunch in down Saratoga afterwards which was quite classy!

I also feel more confident about joining a local club's rides, since I wasn't as unfit as I thought I might be :) I'll hopefully get out on a bunch ride this week sometime.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ski trip report

Well, we're back in one piece with no broken bones, minimal soreness, and minor sunburn for Andrew. All photos are up on our photo website.

Squaw Valley (so I'm now being told) apparently has the steeper slopes in the area, which is why it was used for the 1960 Winter Olympics. They certainly seemed a lot steeper than the stuff at Perisher, and freaked me out a fair bit. I was always fairly cautious at Perisher, but really enjoyed myself and only worried on a few slopes, and eventually went down the slopes which were generally steep but short. Here, the slopes just plain scared me. We started out, and I just lost confidence very fast which set the tone for me for the entire weekend. I was constantly losing control going down hills. and I hate not being in control.

As well as that, this is the first time I've skied since I've given up triathlons, and this is the unfittest I've been in many years. Because of this, my legs felt very weak, and I lost strength in my legs very easily which also didn't help the confidence. Add to this the fact that I still had the remains of a head cold which was giving me sinus headaches, especially at the higher altitudes and I really didn't enjoy the skiing. I also wasn't sleeping at night because I kept having nightmares of skiing crashes, which was making me more nervous and very tired.

We're also used to Perisher, where we would ski over Perisher, Blue Cow and Guthega, which would all end up in different places, and have a great old time. Here, we could really only stick to one main ski area which ended up in the same spot, so it seemed a little mundane after a while. Granted, the ski season was officially over, so a few runs that went to other places were closed, but they looked pretty bloody steep, and above my ski level, so not sure if I would have gone there anyway.

Apart from this though I had a great weekend and overall really enjoyed myself. We did a couple of runs on Friday when we got there before it all closed, Saturday we skiied most of the day, Sunday we went snowshoeing in the morning which was great fun - we saw beautiful streams and water falls, fresh, pristine, untouched snow, and blck bear prints!! Monday we skiied for a bit in the morning, then came home again.

We got to have lots of quality time together, and got to relax and enjoy ourselves which was really nice. Despite this new strange fear of skiing, I had a great time, and am keen to try out a new ski field next year. There's heaps around the Lake Tahoe area, so we'll try to find one we both like.

We did some funny moments out skiing - like when I realised one slope in particular was wayyyy too steep, and I took my skis off before I seriously hurt myself, and (initially) went sliding down half the slope on my arse because it was so steep I couldn't stay in one spot and left my skis and poles up the top of the hill! When a kind Aussie brought my skis and poles down to me, I just put them on my lap and slid down the rest of the hill and had soooo much fun! It was much better sliding down!!! I just flew down :) I had so much snow up my shirt and my pants, but it was worth it!

Anyway, here's some pics!

This is the view from the top

Falling over trying to run in back in showshoes for a self timed photo

A waterfall on our show shoeing trip

The view from our roon

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Skiing this weekend!

This weekend we're heading off to Squaw Valley, which is a 4 hour drive north east of Mountain View. It's next to Lake Tahoe, which is a bloody huge lake. Andrew went there for one and a bit days for the Google ski trip, but we'll have 4 days there, so should have plenty of time to explore and check out most of the mountains hopefully. I believe they also have a heated pool and spa, ice skating and night skiing so should be good fun!

We're staying at the Olympic Village Inn, which looks quite nice - certainly much nicer than the accommodation at the ski fields at Perisher, and probably cheaper!

We're certainly looking forward just to having some time away together and skiing is always fun!

We'll have photos and reports up by Tuesday most probably :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sniff sniff snork

I hate being sick. I always get head colds which are such a pain (hehehe pun there...). Anyhoo, my sinuses always get clogged up when I get sick, my head feels as though it would be much happier if it could just explode, and I sound like I have a peg on my nose when I talk.

So my head is all stuffy, I keep getting sinus headaches, and we're supposed to go skiing for 4 days from Friday. I hope it clears up by then!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sorry, more cat piccies :)

The photos are of the little tabby Mojo posing (he's a good poser!), and Shadow who fell asleep in Andrew's lap after a belly rub :)