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 :(