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  1. Here in My Car I Feel Safest of All
    It’s New Car Day! Hooray! We have the day off, and I thought we would sleep in and then go later in the afternoon. But no, I think I was awake by 7:30 and raring to go. It’s so exciting. Our CAR is parked underneath me as I type. We went and got groceries in OUR CAR. I went through three roundabouts in OUR CAR. I’m ready to take a roadtrip in OUR CAR!

    We’re a little split on the name. I wanted it to be sort of “Man from Snowy River” themed, since it is a Colt. The thing is that I can’t remember any of the horses’ names from the movie. Bess was the one who died at the beginning, right? And then I’m not sure any of the other ones had names. Just “the Brumbies”, I think.

    But we’ve got it narrowed down to either Clancy or JESSICA!. Not Jessica. You have to say it like you’ve just spent the night looking for her in the rain. JESSICA! Maybe the car can have two names. Clancy for when it’s behaving well, and JESSICA! when it’s giving me grief.

    ** Check out Jim, Jessica, Spur & Clancy in The Man From Snowy River at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  2. Linky Links

    Dutch Word of the Day — I’m newly recommitted to learning the Dutch that I abandoned quite a while ago.

    CraftGossip — lots of crafty ideas, and from there I found Jon’s Thread Escapades, a blog about tatting. I started learning to tat from my Grandma years and years ago. That’s another thing I feel like I should consider taking up again.

    Vinyl Record Headbands — here’s a craft for Alyda!

    Cake Wrecks — I can’t remember where I found this one, but it shows when cake decorating goes wrong, all wrong.

    Basic Instructions — Another one I’ve had open for a few days, so I can’t remember where it came from. But it’s a pretty funny webcomic. (Even though I hate them for not having their top banner return to the home page. Who doesn’t do that?)

    Posted in Inspired.

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  3. In Other News…

    * It’s fricking FREEZING.

    * Hans’s tante and oom from Holland are in town this weekend. I can pick up only the slightest bit of their Dutch, but they are such a hoot. We’re arranging a visit with them in 2010 when we go for Sail Amsterdam.

    * As a thank-you for watching my in-laws’ pets last week, I was given some Soul Food Kitchen Cajun Spices. So last night we made red beans and rice. With the Cajun blends that I’ve found here, I usually put in two Tablespoons to get it to my heat level. So I did the same with my new stuff. OMG. We nearly died. I thought my lips were going to swell shut. I think Hans was hallucinating. I’m scared to try it again. It definitely is NOT the Australian version of spicy; it’s legit.

    ** For some authentic cajun recipes, check out Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking.

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  4. Stay off the Sidewalks

    In case you missed the Tweet, I got my Queensland Driver’s License the other day after only the slightest bit of drama. Oh, and I also had my eyes closed the first time, so I had to take not one, but two, horrible license photos. But woo… no test!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  5. Linky Links

    The Traveler’s Notebook and The Nine Commandments of Travel Writing via Write to Travel.

    Posted in Inspired.

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  6. Crazy Town

    When I’m home alone, I am acutely aware of the sounds around the place, the dogs in the neighborhood, and the noise of the gate. So when I heard the gate open a little earlier, I started to panic knowing that it was an unexpected visitor. Footsteps on the stairs. Oh… poop.

    “This is the police”. Oh… crap.

    I opened the door and was met with a flashlight in the face. It was a very nice officer asking if I had called the police. Turned out that the lady next door had actually called them, as we have sort of the same house number. (Don’t ask.)

    So of course, I stood outside like the rest of the neighborhood trying to figure out why there were three patrol cars and six officers walking around. Oh, it must be the guy off his face sitting on the curb screaming that he needed help and didn’t want to die.

    From all appearances, he was being helped and was not, in fact, dying. But he kept up the screaming, nonetheless. Even as they all drove away, you could hear him in the back of the patrol car. Erm. Right. Back to “So You Think You Can Dance.”

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  7. We Got Wheels!

    Three years ago I left my last car in Nashville and rode back to Iowa in a moving truck with my folks. And yesterday we finally replaced it.

    We’ve been talking about how we should have a car by the time my parents get here just so that it’s easier to get them around. We’ll still use public transport, but it’s nice to have the option of getting away to some place that isn’t necessarily on a train line.

    We, being who we are, however, hadn’t really done much looking at cars. We sort of had our hearts set on at least test-driving a Swift. But then the soccer mom in me started leaning towards a CRV. This was all virtual searching though.

    Then yesterday, we had gotten back from our McAmerica trip, and Hans’s brother came to the door with a flyer describing this Mitsubishi Colt. A test drive and some smooth talking later, we had the guy down to our price range with a 3-year warranty. Next thing we know, we’re signing papers.

    Of course, neither of us can legally drive it yet, but I’m guessing I should do something about that this week. Eeep! I need so much practice. I’ve driven my in-law’s car down the street to the grocery store, but I’ve managed to avoid all roundabouts thus far. I’m freaking out, but it will be okay.

    It’s kind of cute in that ugly sort of way, which is totally our style. It’s amazingly roomy, and it’ll be great for hauling band gear around. I’m excited.

    In Other News
    I’m completely addicted to the Pack Rat game on Facebook. Let me know if you want an invite!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  8. Ocean Moonrises

    Then last night we went down to the Gold Coast for dinner. Someone had recommended Matsuzaka to us for the Teppanyaki (where the table is around a chef who cooks for you), and I’m recommending it to you. Be sure to request Chef Phil. He is personable and really made the experience enjoyable.

    So enjoyable that I completely over-ate and was miserable well into the night. But it was so delicious. We had chicken and beef and fried rice and scallops, prawns & I tried morton bay bugs for the first time. I’m not a huge seafood fan, but the sauce they put on the bugs was incredible. We nearly licked our plates.

    Another special moment for the night was when we were walking to the restaurant along the shore. The huge orange moon was just coming up and reflecting over the ocean. There have not been many opportunities for this Iowa girl to see such a magnificent sight, and I almost didn’t want to go inside just to savour a few extra moments.

    Posted in Exploring, Inspired.

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  9. I ♥ Askinosie Chocolate

    Askinosie Chocolate
    On Friday we came across a new indulgence, Askinosie Chocolate. The beautiful organic packaging is what drew us in, and we couldn’t resist purchasing one of the 70% dark and one 75% dark chocolate nibble bars with actual roasted cocoa nibs. Their beans are single-source, and the package even has a photo of the farmer on it.

    The packaging led me to their website, where I could enter a number on the package and see the history from beans to bar. I also had a look at their FAQ, and the ethics behind this company make me a real cheerleader. I want them to do well, and I want everyone to support them. They go beyond “fair trade”. They do right by the farmers and share any extra profits. It’s so beautiful. Be sure to go read their story.

    On top of all that, it is REALLY good. Almost badgood. I predict a serious breakout in my future. We stopped eating the one bar long enough for me to take that photo, but I’m sure the other bar won’t last long either.

    Brisbanites can get it at Biome in Paddington for sure, though I haven’t been to the city location and don’t see in on their website.

    Linky Links
    The Askinosie packaging was featured on, which collects all the best in pretty packaging. I’m such a sucker for lovely design, so I plan on visiting this site more often!

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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  10. When the Cat’s Away

    Box came for the boss today from one of our suppliers. Boss isn’t here. Box was opened to make sure that it wasn’t some sort of explosive devise. Box turns out to contain a fruit bouquet. Fruit bouquets do not survive the weekends well. So we ate it.

    But we took a picture so he could see what he missed. Now it’s 4:00, and I’m bored. BORED!

    Posted in Cooking.

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  11. Free Stuff

    So the other day I found out about PureProfile. It’s one of those places where you sign up and tell them about yourself, and then they pay you to click on links or take surveys.

    I used to be in one in the States, though I’ve forgotten the name. But I figured I could sign up and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I get a few additional spam emails or something.

    In two days, I’ve made a whopping $.70, but apparently if you do surveys, they give you more for your time. I only had to click on a few links, and a couple of them were actually interesting. I just thought I’d mention it in case anybody else out there wants to earn a couple bucks, albeit quite slowly. (If you do decide to sign up, would you be so kind as to use my referral number? I think I get a bonus or pats on the back or something.)

    One of the sites I had to go to was called Vibe Village. I signed up for that one too. They send out products for you to try, give feedback and hopefully share with your friends. I got accepted into a program for a fiber supplement (hmm, yummy), so you can be sure I’ll let you know how that goes.

    That’s all. We’re going out tonight and get to take a CityCat, so I’m pretty much excited about that. Whee!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  12. Retail Therapy

    There’s nothing quite like starting off the day with buying two pairs of shoes. All before my second cup of coffee. The shoe store across the street from work always has sale shoes outside on a rack. We often go to the deli next door to get some banana bread for breakfast, but today the shoes drew me in.

    The picture of them here doesn’t truly convey their cuteness. But I fell in love with the black ones, and Hans said they were so cute and convinced me to get the green ones too. CUTE! (And they’re called Cute Girl… how cute is that?) And one more “cute” for good measure.

    I almost bought these too, but I thought they made my feet look large. But they are so grandma-licious, I might still go back.

    I’m thrilled to find some shoes that actually fit and aren’t extremely-wide-width, like most shoes here tend to be. I’m starting to figure out the international shoe sizes… “A 37?! But I’m a 6.5 in America!” I used to be such a shoe whore, and now it looks like I can become one again. 😀

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  13. Trust Me

    Okay, so if yesterday’s post didn’t convince you to love Pinback, I’ll give it another shot. (Was I wrong about Family Force Five?) But first…

    I woke up this beautiful, rainy morning with a song in my head. Actually just some doot-doot-doots. While not being COMPLETELY tone deaf, my efforts to sing the melody to Hans were mostly in vain.

    That’s when he introduced me to It is so freaking ridiculous. You go there and tap in the rhythm of the song you’re thinking of, and it will spit back a list of potential songs. It has yet to miss for me. The song is always there.

    So I tapped in the rhythm that was in my head, and about halfway down the list I spied Pinback. Of course that was the one. It’s called “Loro”. It’s the last song on their myspace player. It was apparently also on the Elizabethtown soundtrack. (But I don’t endorse that movie, because they LIED. That was SO NOT the Nashville airport.) And it’s stuck in my head.

    ** Previously: My post on “Good to Sea” by Pinback.
    ** Get the Elizabethtown DVD or the Elizabethtown Soundtrack: Volume 2 at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  14. Immigration Station

    And I came home yesterday to a large envelope from my lovely immigration officer. Lo and behold, it has been two years since I submitted my partner application and now it’s time to Taylor-Dayne it up again. Another Australian police clearance, more statutory declarations, the ever-fun character assessment form, and evidence and documents based on my answers on the Statement of Partner Relationship… to be completed by September 2. Joy.

    (Yeah, Tash, turns out a visit AFTER September is going to work out better! Hehe.)

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  15. Audio Addiction

    I have been ridiculously obsessed with “Good to Sea” by Pinback… to the extent that I’ve listened to it all day pretty much on repeat. I get this with certain songs that have a particular element that fascinates me and finds a place in my heart. (The prime example being the dun-duh-yeah found at 1:52 in this particular “Head Over Heels” video by Tears for Fears. Watch the video anyway, it’s so awesomely 80’s.)

    So anyway, what I love about “Good to Sea” is that you listen to the first minute and a half thinking that the oh-oh is the figurative answer to the musical question, only to find it as the anacrusis at 2:24. Love it. Listen and love it too:

    **Check out the Pinback store at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  16. A Conversation

    After getting Tennis 101 the other night while watching the Williams sisters

    Me: How is it that you know all this anyway?
    Him: Because I love tennis.
    Me: Yeah, why is that again?
    Him: Because there’s so much strategy involved. It’s like chess.
    Me: Ah yes, the OTHER great spectator sport.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  17. McYum!

    This past Saturday we had what I consider to be one of my all-time favourite days in recent history. We had a bit of a sleep in, which is one of my greatest pastimes. But then we hurried to get ready so that we could walk down to McDonalds before they changed their breakfast menu.

    The goal was to have the limited edition McAmerica. I may have completely lost my taste for what American bagels are supposed to be like, but this was the closest I have come to bagel perfection in the longest time. The taste, and, more importantly, the texture were EXACTLY what I was looking for in a bagel.

    I’m in love with a breakfast sandwich, people. One that I will love until it goes away on August 5.

    We then walked past the shops to pick up some food to get us through the weekend and had a lazy stroll back home. It was so glorious outside and getting a little exercise really recharged me.

    After we got home, we spent pretty much every last minute of the day playing Lego: Indiana Jones. Freaking awesome. And we’re finally getting some use out of the world’s most expensive dvd player.

    ** Check out all the Lego video games at Amazon.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  18. A Bit on the Homesick Side

    It’s weird. My great-uncle from California passed away last week. They are having the funeral in Iowa tomorrow. I only saw them once a year at most. I can’t remember having any one-on-one conversations with him. And if I were in Nashville, I probably wouldn’t be going home for the funeral unless I had already planned on being home for the 4th.

    So why is my grief crippling me today?

    Maybe it has to do with getting information like this in casual “oh by the way, has anyone told you yet” emails. Maybe it’s the realization that it’s only a matter of time before it’s Grandma or even someone younger. Bleh.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  19. Linky Links

    More expats to peruse:
    * Suzer’s Expat Adventures
    * A Girl Named Supermindy
    * Florida Girl in Sydney

    I’m pretty sure that I got this link from one of the above. A Year of Crockpotting – someone who is using their crockpot to cook every day this year. (Allison & Steve, I think we all need to try some of these recipes and share the good ones!)

    ** Check out the slow cooker options at Amazon.

    Posted in Cooking, Inspired.

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