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  1. Yesterday we saw a replica of the Dutch jacht, the Duyfken, which carried the first Europeans in recorded history to the shores of Australia. (Those clever Dutch, eh?)

    Afterwards, we went to an electronic orchestra. Classical music with electronic elements. Sort of like movie soundtrack music, but live. It was great.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  2. El Maco Attacko
    Just wanted to check to see if “The Legendary El Maco” burger at McDonald’s here is an American export. It certainly cannot be. Because as with all Australian attempts at Mexican food, it is pretty much crap.

    It’s two patties of 100% Australian beef topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and taco sauce. A taco on a bun, if you will. However, they never seem to put any spice in their taco seasonings, so it was kind of not worth even trying. Oh well.

    Two Months and Counting
    It’s our anniversary. Two months. Woot. I’m not one to really get all girlie about that kind of thing, and I wouldn’t have remembered if I hadn’t seen the reminder in his phone. But weird. We’re married.

    Winter Wonderland
    This morning Hans got up and then came back in the bedroom to tell me that it was all foggy and white outside. It was so cool, because it’ll be the closest thing to looking like REAL winter that I’ll get this year. It also made a cute little spiderweb stand out on the walk to the train.

    Hmm… that’s about it.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  3. Dead-Ant-Dead-Ant Dead-Ant
    I’m too lazy at this point to go back and see whether I mentioned my ant issues before, but it’s all I can think about today. Apparently ants are just a part of Queensland life. (Though I beg you then to tell me why we didn’t have them at Chris & Marj’s.) I’ve also noticed that they come out in droves on rainy days. This makes me gag.

    Yesterday it rained.
    Yesterday they found my half-drunk Coke can again.
    Yesterday I fought back.

    We have this plant out front that I call the Giant Aloe, because that’s what it looks like and frankly I’m not really interested in what its actual common name is. See lower left of picture below:

    The ants’ lair is in the center of that plant, and they have an ant freeway system going to and from it. One branch of the freeway goes down one of the leaves and up the tree next to it. The other branch goes out the opposite side, under the stairs, and along a wooden plank. Then it splits, and one end goes up the post to the corner of the veranda upstairs, and the other goes along the wall and into a crack under the house.

    So I bought some Ant Killer Liquid at the store yesterday, and I squirted it all over their little Path of Evil. Die, little creatures, DIE!

    It’s really sick, because when you put it out there, they swarm to their death, sweet death, which comes soon… but not before the fiestiest of them bring back the poisoned offering to their queen.

    All that to say, there wasn’t a single one on the veranda this morning, and those that were out on the plant were moving in slow-motion. I can’t wait to get home and see if there are fewer still. Hooray!

    Newest Addiction
    We can’t stop watching Veronica Mars. I had seen a couple of episodes in the States, but not in consecutive order, so I didn’t know the big-picture storyline. Oh my gosh. We’re halfway through the first season, and we’re torn between sitting down and watching the whole thing or rationing it out for fear of reaching the end too soon. Love it!

    Post Project Runway Recap: Spoilers, I’m Sure
    I may have to watch it again to remember all the details, but most of the dresses were completely forgettable. I can’t wait until a few more people are eliminated so that they can focus on more than just the two potential top dresses and the two potential bottom ones.

    Angela/Roz bugged the CRAP out of me, but after showing so much of her being a painus, I knew she couldn’t possibly be eliminated. Dare I say I felt bad for Malan?

    The pitch: Angela doesn’t sketch? How can she not sketch to pitch a gown? I know that Chloe supposedly didn’t do sketches either, but she managed to do SOMETHING when pitching her lingerie idea to Heidi. Ack. Anyway, how cre-ee-eeee-py was Keith when he was talking about making the dress fitted, and he was all cupping her boobs? Hello! Gah.

    As for the winner, could it have been anyone BESIDES the pageant dress designer? I mean, for real. The only other dress I can remember, besides the “log” dress is Laura & Michael Knight Rider’s… but it seemed a little swimsuit-esque to me. But that’s me.

    Oh, and also, did they deliberately make a background tune reminiscent of the Knight Rider themesong to play whenever Michael is on screen or is my mind playing tricks on me? Or is it the same song as always? I can’t remember. Time to get our DVD back. *AHEM… Oh you, who reads this but does not comment.* 🙂

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  4. A Webgirl’s Work is Never Done
    I’ve been a little, how shall we say, busy beyond all recognition for the last couple days. My one remaining client from the States just launched a new website layout (ichaelmay ardcay dot omcay), so I’m busy fixing broken things and getting archives working again and all that good stuff.

    Add to this, we decided to launch Hans’s website this week so that it was functional by the show tomorrow. (unzhay dot omcay dot au) Thankfully, we pretty much tested that thing to death before we ever bothered putting it live… so it’s taking care of itself at the moment.


    Blank Books of Joy
    In other news, I bought the greatest blank book yesterday. It’s made in Australia by Corban & Blair. It’s like their wrap notebooks but mine is a slightly shimmery graphite color. LOVE IT. I just realized that the store where I got it has a website! I love that place so much. It makes me feel like I’m back in Franklin.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  5. If I Could Roll My Eyes Further Back in My Head, I Would
    Super thanks go out to you Gateway Grizzlies. Thanks to you this doughnut burger is being broadcast on the NEWS here as being the “latest craze to hit America”. Cue the “fat American” comments. If I had a baseball bat within reach, ooooo….

    Project Runway
    This could be a potential scandal spoiler. Mmmhmm… mmmhmm. Not surprised here.

    Ooo and the Runway recap is up at Four Four. It’s by far my favourite site to read after I’ve seen the episode!

    Roaming Through Roma
    Yesterday after my x-ray, we wandered through the Roma Street Parkland. It was so beautiful outside, and it was nice to just be away from people.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  6. Dad Calls Me “Grace” for a Reason
    No one really needs to know about this, but I can’t stop telling people. Well, first I’ll explain that lots of houses here are raised on “stilts” and then people park their cars underneath or just use it for storage or whatever.

    So to get in our house you go up the stairs. Underneath it is all closed in, but his folks park their car in there, and there’s a little storage room, and that is also where our washing machine is.

    I should also explain, if I haven’t already, is that while most people own a washing machine, I know of two people who own a dryer. It’s just not a common thing to get the set. Instead, you hang your clothes up to dry. (Which I would tend to do with most of my things anyway, but sometimes you need a good dry cycle to de-lint your towels!)

    Okay, so washing machine under the house. Clothesline on the veranda upstairs. With me?

    I did some laundry yesterday and was filling the machine for the next load while I was going to quick run the original load upstairs and exchange for the dirty pile. I was wearing a long skirt doing the penguin walk up the stairs since my hands were full and couldn’t hold it up. Long story short. (More like a short story short.) I was in a hurry to get up and down again before the cycle started, and I managed to fall UP the stairs.

    I caught myself with my left knee and left hand while the right hand got cut on the plastic laundry basket. I was fine but shaken.

    This morning, however, I am stiff and sore. My bandaid stuck to the wound, so when I took it off to shower, it took with it whatever bits of healing were happening underneath. And the bruise. Oh the bruise.

    It wouldn’t be a big deal, but I have my medical exam next week. This brings my Giant Bruise Tally up to four. I just don’t feel like explaining how graceful I can be.

    Behold, the First Article Mention
    The local entertainment paper has an article with Chris, former housemate, in regards to the show this weekend. I’m just excited. First show.

    Gotta go get my chest x-rayed now. Maybe I should ask for a full-body one to make sure I didn’t fracture my shin yesterday. *sigh*

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  7. I’m a Bruiser
    Somehow I feel compelled to share my pain. I’m sure everybody bruises from giving blood, but I’m a total wimp about it. This picture was taken a couple of days ago. It has come along nicely since then. Today it has transitioned into more of a blue-green phase.

    On Set with Roos
    Yesterday Hans had to be on set for a video shoot to supervise some of the effects shots. The location was this old abandoned mental institution campus. It’s really rugged and run-down, although some of the rooms are still decorated with construction-paper trees and stars. It would be really creepy if you were the easily-creeped-out type.

    There were also some kangaroos behind one of the buildings. I love them.

    While the 2-hour timeframe we were going to be there turned into a 4-hour timeframe, it was still fun as long as you forgot about the cold. Once they set up the generator and lights, we just tried to stay as close to the heat-producing lights as we could. I also got put to work holding up the green screen. I had fun hanging out with some of the familiar faces, and also had a nice time talking to some new ones. One guy is from Florida and is here with YWAM setting up a film school. We spent quite a while talking about all the stuff we miss about the States. The band and the actress were very nice too. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Post Project Runway Recap
    Let me just start off by saying that I was thrilled to find out that another season of Project Runway was just around the corner. Having been addicted since the first episode of season one, I was afraid the show wasn’t going to be the same without being glued to the television with my beautiful roommate.

    I was so happy that Hans is impressionable enough to become an instant fan on my behalf. So much so, that he bought the first season on DVD with his Christmas Amazon gift certificate. (A DVD that has been passed around to more people here than I can even count… we’re starting a new Australian craze. You’ll also see a few of Diana Eng’s “Fashion Nerd” buttons floating around here thanks to me.)

    Road to the Runway
    I’d say this was mostly fun, but since I saw it after we watched the first episode, there was little surprise. Though how can anyone not be completely charmed by Jay McCarroll? Talking about how he’s been doing his research into the business end of fashion and how he doesn’t want his garments made out of flammable material at a factory where people get shot. So great.

    Episode One: Possible Spoilers
    Here are some immediate thoughts on this season’s contestants:

    Vincent: Poor guy. He’s obviously enthusiastic, but I feel bad thinking that he’s sitting at home watching the way he was edited. We decided he’s a combination of Elton John and Derek Zoolander.

    Kayne: Meh. He kind of grates on me, but that could change if he comes up with some amazing designs. What was up with that antenna coming out of his dress? (Kayne’s myspace)

    Robert: I had no real opinion on him until he made his comment about working for Isaac Mizrahi being the best and worst experience of his life… just waiting for someone to ask him to dish the dirt about the creator of my shower curtain. I yelled out: “Oh that is so NASHVILLE!” Being able to drop names is truly an artform, but he just seemed sleezy to me after that. His dress was cute though, so I’m torn.

    Uli: I want her to be the Kara Janx of this season, being accented and earthy. I don’t know if she has it in her, but I’ll give it time. I didn’t become a Kara convert until later in last season either.

    Stacey: I spent the episode watching her forehead to try and decide if she had botox or if she is just extremely blessed for a 40-year-old. It was too early to care whether she stayed or went.

    Katherine: She’s cute but didn’t get enough airtime for me to really “get” her. Liked the comment about the feather allergy sufferers though. Seems typically midwestern normal to me. (Katherine’s myspace)

    Keith: I liked him at first, and then I didn’t. He’s kind of a bastard, and that’s unfortunate, because I think he could make some pretty clothes. I was aghast that they gave him the win, since he used a bedsheet and buttons. I was completely on board with Tim Gunn when he asked where the innovation was with that garment.

    Angela: She rubs me the wrong way. Every time she shows up on screen I try to decide how many mini marshmallows you could stuff in her nostrills. I don’t enjoy her interviews. She lives in the middle of “quote-unquote nowhere”… gah, be quiet. I couldn’t ever remember her name and will probably call her “Roz” from now on, because she reminds me of Peri Gilpin on Frasier. (Angela’s myspace)

    Laura: I love her. She oozes class at this point, and I hope that she doesn’t turn all Wendy Pepper on us.

    Alison: She’s totally cute and seems really sweet. She seems to have a good eye. Was a little concerned about the puffy front of her dress, but otherwise it was cute. (Alison’s myspace)

    Bradley: This one is a toss-up. I couldn’t really give an opinion on him. He seems like a fun person, but I think he has potential to be a little crazy. (Bradley’s myspace)

    Jeffrey: My first reaction was that he could be cool, but I’m not so sure anymore. I know he does all this rock-star clothing, but I just didn’t like his dress at all. I just don’t have the energy to care about another Santino. (Jeffrey’s myspace)

    Malan: Oh eww. He is such a slimey slee
    zeball. He totally creeps me out. What is with that accent? Even Tim Gunn does not know. I’m sorry, being born in Taiwan does not explain it. Methinks someone watched too much Rowan Atkinson. (Malan’s myspace)

    Bonnie: She seems really nice, and I just like her. Hopefully she learned from this challenge and does some great, better-fitting designs in the future.

    Michael: I am cheering for him because (1) he’s from Hotlanta, (2) he’s shown that he can be innovative, and (3) hello, Knight Rider??

    If you didn’t click that link above, be sure to read this interview with Tim Gunn. He dishes it out about last season (Daniel turns into a prick, surprise, surprise) and this season.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  8. Quote of the Day
    “It’s no wonder you have needle anxiety; your veins are horrid. It’s shocking.”
    — my nurse today

    My Mantra
    I’ll be okay.
    It’s worth it.
    I’ll be okay.
    It’s worth it.

    Hans came along to hold my hand. I survived.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  9. I ♥ the Police
    Today we went to the police headquarters. I was wearing my “cranky” socks (literally, they’ve got a big frowny face on them and they say “cranky”) and was fully prepared to cry if I had to in order to get some help in the fingerprint department.

    Officer Kim was a GEM and helped us immediately. Seriously. Such a sweet man. We explained how we had just gotten married and how this is all for the visa and that good stuff. He said that he’s been married for 28 years… 20 of which have been wonderful.

    I asked if the 8 years of not-so-wonderful were at the beginning or the end. He said they were somewhere in the middle and then offered us some genuine advice to make sure that we keep our sense of humor during the rough times and not to give up. Did I mention he was such a sweet man? Sweet!

    We told him about the debacle yesterday at our friendly suburban police station, and he rolled his eyes saying that he wished places like that would just call him and ask what to do instead of insisting on doing it their way. He apologized for our run-around, and then when it came time to leave, he told us that normally they want him to charge $23 for that service. As he handed me the envelope with my fingerprints inside, he said, “But I won’t tell if you don’t.” And he pointed us towards the door.

    I wanted to hug the man. Someone was smiling down on me. With all the other immigration costs, that’s $23 that can be spent on something else.

    Something Else
    Beautiful Bic Runga is playing at the Tivoli next month. I’m just wishing…. (Although, we watched a special about her while we were in New Zealand, and I think Hans is a convert. So much so that he shushed me in the grocery store last night to point out that it was her playing on the background music.) 🙂

    Carry On
    Madly checking our “sources” for the premiere of Project Runway season three. Can we please just have one more return of Daniel Franco? (Oh my gosh, he has a myspace.) Granted, I didn’t love him so much the first season. But he grew on me last year.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  10. Giving the Finger (prints)
    I don’t even want to talk about the rigamarole that I have been through in order to get a simple set of my own fingerprints. The FBI requires that I send in a set of fingerprints in order for them to send back a card saying that I have no criminal record or sordid past.

    So I call the Queensland police yesterday to find out where one goes to get that done. The very nice lady asked where I was located, and I stated that I pass the gigantic police headquarters in the city several times a week. She told me to go to the first counter on the left with two forms of ID, and they would take care of me.

    Great. I called back later to make sure I knew what their hours are, and the man I spoke to treated me like an idiot and said that they only do crime scene fingerprints and the only time they fingerprint people is when they come from the morgue. Uhh… so this “counter” that the lady told me to go to with my two forms of ID? What?

    Whatever. He told me to go to the local police station up the street from our house, and they would take care of me.

    Fine. Now, keep in mind that I saw on the police website that you can get your fingerprints done for about $20. I just bring in the form that I already printed out from the FBI site. Pay the fee. Leave. Ta-da.

    However, this morning we spent no less than an hour and a half at the police station trying to convince these ladies that all I want is someone to take my fingers, put them in some ink, rub it on my own freaking paper, and sign the thing. No, these ladies were trying to tell me that I had to get my fingerprints done, then they would KEEP them and enter them into their system, and send it over to the consulate in America… for $146. One HUNDRED and forty-six DOLLARS. That’s like $110 US Dollars. (Just FYI, the FBI check costs $18 USD.)

    Oh, no, no. I do not THINK so. I’m an AMERICAN. I need my record from THERE sent HERE. I want nothing to do with the Australian consulate in America. They don’t care that I don’t have a record here.

    I had all these pages that I had printed out from both the immigration website, the QLD police website and from the FBI website to try to get it through their heads that I need to send my fingerprints to the FBI with the form off their website. Ugh.

    I was somewhere between wanting to cry and wanting to throw things. But I’ve had breakfast and another coffee now, so I think I’ll be okay. Tomorrow we’re going to try that Counter #1 idea from the nice lady and make sure they need me to be dead first.

    Weekend Pictures
    The guys in their protective time-warp helmets. The entire group picture was on Lisa’s camera, unfortunately.

    Meet My Neigh-bor
    Sometimes when I’m alone at the house at night, I freak out a little bit, because it sounds like someone is walking around outside. I don’t know — I grew up in the Safest Community in America, but then came the year or two that I lived in the ghetto. Is self-preservation a learned instinct?

    Sunday afternoon, it was happening again. Turns out that it was my neighbor… the horse. He’s a scraggly old thing, and he doesn’t usually spend a lot of time along the driveway. Maybe this is the only place there’s any semi-green grass at the moment.

    Anyway, the picture is blurry because I shot it through the living room window without the flash. That bush thing is on the fence next to the driveway, and there he was just munching away.

    Beauty vs. Budget
    The Brisbane Festival starts this weekend. There are so many pretty shows that I would love to see! That’s one thing I’m missing in my life. Not that I went to a tremendous amount of theatre and/or other cultural events in recent years, but I did see the Nashville Symphony before I left. And not to forget The Nutcracker in Auckland last December with Tash.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  11. Poked & Prodded
    I’m not sure many of you have any idea what it takes to become a permanent resident in another country… I know I sure was clueless until about a year ago. Let’s just say they don’t make it easy or cheap to make sure you really want it.

    This is what has been done so far on the checklist:

    • I’m nearly finished with my 29-page form.
    • Hans is still working on his 12-page form as my sponsor.
    • The lady we used to live with has returned her statutory declaration as witness to the nature of our lasting relationship and made certified copies of her passport and marriage license.
    • Hans’s boss is working on the other statutory declaration.
    • We have bought a certified copy of our marriage license.
    • And I’ve made the appointment for my medical exam.

    I’ve been putting off the medical exam (and the 8-page form) part in hopes that it would just go away. I try not to go to the doctor if I can help it at all. And if I really need to go, I try to make it coordinate with a trip back to my hometown, so at least I know the doctor in question.

    And this isn’t just any $295 medical examination. Oh no. My appointment is at the end of the month, but the week prior, I have to go get a chest x-ray. (And bring in my 3-page form.) And on FRIDAY, I have to go in to have blood drawn. All this just so that they know I’m not carrying tuberculosis or HIV or cooties.

    The problem is… I have a thing with needles. That thing being the whole panic-and-hyperventilate-until-you-pass-out thing. The idea alone is making me a little lightheaded as I type.

    I think there were two too many instances of the nurse not being able to find a vein and just jabbing around in there like someone who has sucked all the fruity juice out of an icee and is trying to find a little drop more before throwing the cup away. I know the secret of drinking a couple of gallons of water before going in to help plump up the veins, but somehow this has never really helped me.

    Oh well. I guess this goes to show how much I really love this guy.

    Getting my fingerprints taken tomorrow so I can send for the FBI criminal background check. Fun fun.

    A Conversation
    Me: So… umm… where’s the PSP?
    Him: I’m not telling.
    Me: It’s only been a month and a half, and you’re hiding things from me already!

    This LocoRoco addiction is getting a little out of hand. And I don’t care that someone wants to ruin it by implying it’s racist.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  12. Little Changes to Pass the Time
    I’ve been at home by myself all day today (except for the brief visit by bro-in-law and dog-nephew). I’m starting to go a little batty. I had pictures to share, but they’re on the laptop… which Hans has with him tonight. They’ve got rehearsal for the show in a couple weeks. I’m excited and a little nervous on his behalf. It will be the first I’ve seen him perform in… gosh… four years?

    Since I’ve already vacuumed, done laundry, cleaned out the refrigerator, and played enough LocoRoco to wonder whether I’m making myself go blind, I did a little template clean-up that was long overdue. Fixing links and such. Changed the picture at the top, which might change again when I get my computer back.

    If I Could Turn Back Time
    This would be way better with the pictures… but we built a time machine last week and took it for a spin on Saturday. Okay, well, I wrapped some tin foil around a couple of toilet paper cores and called it the “Time Controller”… but we had magic crystals, so that makes it legit. (A piece of fool’s gold we got from an opal mine. Awesome!)

    It was actually a long elaborate scheme so that Dan & Lisa wouldn’t know where we were going. A freaking huge banner across the pedestrian bridge blew it for me.

    First stop in the timeline was 1997. They met at McDonald’s, and since it was also their anniversary, we went there for breakfast.

    Next we went to 1824 and stopped at the Redcliffe Museum. Redcliffe boasts the fact that it was the first European settlement in Queensland.

    Then we travelled back to 600 AD when we ended up at the Abbey Medieval Tournament. They had never been to a Renaissance festival before, so it was kind of fun to see their reactions to the jousting and gypies dancing and all that stuff. It was great, albeit very dusty and unseasonably warm.

    Our next stop was the early 1700’s, and we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

    The last date in the “time controller” was 1939 which is when our house was built.

    The greatest part, though, was that I made “protective” helmets out of tin foil, à la Signs, and everyone wore them for most of the time that we were in the car between stops. It was hilarious. The looks from some people were priceless.

    And that’s all I have to say. No laptop. No pictures.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  13. Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  14. Congrats!
    Hooray for Jay & Brandi! Evey Bella & Avery Bean… oh my goodness. Cutest duo EVER! Can’t wait to see pictures!


    This is “our” cat. He sits out on his perch there just outside the kitchen door waiting for you to make eye contact with him. When you do, he hops down and goes to the door and meows to let you know… “Hellooooo, I’m ready to come inside now. Quit ignoring me. I totally saw you look at me.”

    He can be such a painus, but we love him. (That’s our new slang word we’re trying to introduce into common vocabulary. It’s short for “pain in the anus”. Let me know if you start using it, because that would be so rad.)

    American Soundtrack
    I’ve put together a musical compilation for our 4ourth of July celebration tonight. I think it’s a keeper.

    * Fanfare for the Common Man – Aaron Copeland
    * American the Beautiful – Ray Charles
    * Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
    * Battle Hymn of the Republic – US Army Band
    * Bullets & Bayonets – John Phillip Sousa
    * Hoe-down – Aaron Copeland
    * America – Neil Diamond
    * Proud to be an American – Lee Greenwood
    * Who’s Who in Navy Blue – John Phillip Sousa
    * Small Town – John Cougar
    * Tennessee – Arrested Development
    * Rodeo – Aaron Copeland
    * Semper Fidelis – John Philip Sousa
    * The Old Iowa Waltz – Shadric Smith
    * American Pie – Don McLean
    * Stars & Stripes Forever – US Marine Band
    * Air Force Hymn – USAF Band
    * Star Spangled Banner – Leanne Rimes
    * We Shall be Free – Garth Brooks

    We’re so rocking out!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

  15. It’s Like Cinco de Mayo
    So we’ve got the 4th of July celebration all planned for tomorrow. For the in-laws, it’s just a chance to eat lots of food together. For me, it’s… well… just a chance to eat a lot of food.

    This is my menu:
    – American-style hot dogs / buns
    – Heinz ketchup (not tomato sauce like everyone uses here) & American yellow mustard
    – Carrots/cucumbers/wheat thins & dip
    – Lime jello with pears
    – Watermelon (which I hate, but I know is a big 4th of July staple)
    – Rice Krispie bars
    – Kool-aid Lemonade (thanks, Manda)
    – Coronas with lime

    More Wedding Pics
    I know I’m stretching this out painfully long, but it’s difficult deciding which ones to post. Todd gave us a disk with over 350 pictures on it, not counting Alyda’s disk.

    Plus I just had a bridal shower last weekend, so it’s like the wedding celebration that never ends!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.