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Category Archives: Nothing in Particular

  1. Safe and Sound

    We are completely safe here in Brisbane. We can’t see or smell smoke. While we are saddened and shocked like the rest of the world, we’re not really affected by it more than most of you are.

    And just FYI, according to the map below with the comparison of Australia to America, we’re over there in that eastern part of North Carolina. The fires are down in the Gulf of Mexico there. And the massive floods that you may or may not have heard about are up there in Ontario somewhere.

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  2. February Failure

    So that self-imposed, nightly photo sorting challenge went by the wayside on Friday and didn’t happen again yesterday. And today I don’t feel like it anymore. But it was fun while it lasted.

    Friday night, Wolfmother were just walking off the stage when we made it to the venue, so I’ll never know. Judging by the sweaty mess of people leaving, I don’t think I would have wanted to be in there anyway.

    Last night we went to the CD launch of a friend, and it was so amazing. I don’t really like watching music much anymore, but I’d even go back tonight for a second performance if they decided they wanted to do it all over again.

    The other big news of the weekend is my new shoes. You can tell I’ve been here too long when I look at a pair of $35 flip-flops and think, “Hey, those are cheap!”

    But they’re called Swamisz. They’re purple. They neither flip nor flop. And best of all, they haven’t given me blisters… yet.

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  3. Shows and Secret Shows

    We’ve got a gig at the Troubadour tonight, but then afterwards we (or at least I) will be sneaking over to the Wolfmotherlnot-really-secret-anymore show. I don’t really care much about them (him?), but I’m just dying to get the scoop from our friends (and venue owners) on whether Andrew’s a prima dona and that’s why the other guys split.

    ** Check out the Wolfmother store at Amazon.

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  4. That’s New

    I was just watching what I believe to be Korean news with another Asian language overdub. It was like watching a bad kung-fu movie and still not understanding what they are saying.

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  5. iLove

    I cannot believe I am about to admit my new-found love (and complete dependence) on an Apple product. I’ve been so anti-Apple for my own self-righteous reasons, and I haven’t hated them very quietly either.

    So imagine my surprise when I opened one of my Christmas presents fromlHubby and found a nano. I hate to admit that my first thought was “what the heck am I going to do with THIS?”. The fact that it is purple DID endear it to me slightly, but honestly, we don’t take the train anymore… did he think I was going to wear it around the house?

    My next present was an FM transmitter, and he told me that he remembered me saying that I missed my radio stations back in the States and thought I might be able to find some podcasts to listen to in the car. This is why I love him to bits. Oh my goodness.

    I immediately went to iTunes and subscribed to the podcasts of This American Life, All Songs Considered, Studio 360, Fresh Air (I ♥ Terry!), The Splendid Table and Car Talk.

    This has CHANGED MY LIFE! I cannot even put it fully into words.

    No more asinine drive-time radio djs. No more crap music. No more breaking news updates with the latest comings and goings of the Britneys and Parises of the world. I’m back to the glory days of PRI and NPR. My IQ is thanking me.

    The only thing I DO miss is the traffic reports. I take that back. I don’t even care. In fact, I almost WISH there would be a traffic jam, because then I’d get to stay in the car listening to Lynn Rosetto Kasper just that little bit longer.

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  6. It’s New

    And here we have 2009. We welcomed it in a very low-key manor at the sibling-in-laws. After several energetic rounds of Wii tennis, we settled in to play Little Big Planet until someone mentioned that we should check the time. We watched the last 15 minutes of the various (lame) shows until fireworks time.

    I have lived in four states, and I don’t remember fireworks being part of the NYE tradition in the US. Not even city organized ones, much less half the neighbourhood setting off their own stash of contraband. Maybe it’s because of the snow.

    So we watched the fireworks on tv, and then went outside to try see what the neighbors were doing. We heard more than we saw. And then we promptly went to bed. The end.

    ** Get LittleBigPlanet 2 at Amazon.

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  7. I Resolve…

    I don’t really do resolutions, because, let’s be honest here, how many are ever actually kept by anyone?

    I think I’m setting more goals for myself that might not be some year-long process, but more on a weekly basis for some things and even a daily basis for others. I feel like I’ve slipped down a slope of apathy and laziness in certain areas of my life, and I think it’s time to brush off and start over again… with baby steps.

    It’s kind of why I’m writing now, after spending this sickeningly hot day on the bed, the closest spot to the air conditioner. It would be easy to put off posting until tomorrow, but I could probably find an excuse not to do it then too.

    It comes down to discipline, I suppose. So crack that whip, and whip it good.

    ** Check out the Devo store at Amazon.

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  8. In General

    Things are picking up. We still have no Christmas decorations out to speak of, but I’m feeling a little more interested in the holidays. We braved the mall on Sunday, and I’m feeling very confident in my gifts for He Who Buys All He Wishes For. He may not necessarily know that he wants what I’ve gotten, but I’m meeting his needs in one way or another.

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  9. This is Your Birthday Song / It isn’t Very Long

    Hubby is the magic number today. We woke up and opened presents in bed. Then we raced to get ready so we could play Little Big Planet before work. (He has rehearsal tonight. I don’t. Hehe!)

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  10. Public Service: On Shore Partner Visa for Australia

    Firstly, I got a letter from immigration today to say that my permanent partner visa has been granted. WOO. HOO! It’s such a weight off the shoulders not having to think about that anymore.

    I get lots of hits from people searching for info on migrating to Australia, so I thought I’d post my time-line to help give an idea. Keep in mind that every situation is different, and this is just my personal experience. Dates are what was on the correspondence unless otherwise noted. I don’t know if I have all the dates either, but this will give the general idea.

    Wife: American in Australia
    Husband: New Zealand citizen, Australian resident
    Visa: Partner (Temporary Residence) Visa (Class UK) (Subclass 820) and Partner (Residence) (Class BS) (Subclass 801)

    06 JUL 06: Made appointments for full health check. (AU$296)

    14 JUL 06: Had blood test for health check.

    18 JUL 06: Had chest x-ray for health check.

    23 JUL 06: Had fingerprints done (FBI Form FD-258: PDF) at Roma Street Station to send with FBI Clearance form. (I was not charged by the super-nice policeman, but the website said it was AU$21.)

    24 JUL 06: Had medical exam done for front-loaded visa application.

    31 JUL 06: Mailed FBI check to America. (FBI Cover Letter PDF and instructions.) Saved copy of request to submit with front-loaded visa application. (Request: US $18 / Postage: AU$16.50)

    11 AUG 06: Hand-delivered front-loaded visa application to Brisbane Department of Immigration, which included the following:
    • Spouse Visa Application Document Checklist (PDF);
    • Big fat cheque for AU$1990;
    • Completed Form 47SP (PDF);
    • Completed Form 40SP (PDF);
    • Certified copies of our passports;
    • Copy of sponsor’s Australian tax assessments for two years;
    • Certified copy of my driver’s license;
    • Two passport photos for each of us (AU$24);
    • Certified copy of marriage certificate (AU$25);
    • Evidence of genuine relationship including phone records, instant message logs, emails, wedding cards, copy of wedding ceremony and announcement, photos;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know us (we used a couple we used to live with and husband’s boss);
    • A statutory declaration from each of us describing the history of our relationship;
    • Results of my health check; and
    • Photocopy of my Character Clearance Check from the FBI.

    16 AUG 06: Received letter from DIMA noting that they were waiting on the requested FBI clearance. I was also advised that we needed full medicals (AU$296), Form 80 (PDF), Australian Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF), and NZ Police Clearance (instructions) for my husband as the sponsor being a NZ citizen.

    13 SEP 06: Letter from Australian Federal Police clearing husband (AU$37).

    13 NOV 06: Email from immigration officer saying my Temporary Partner Visa has been granted. (Time passed: 3 months, 4 days)

    02 JUL 08: Letter from DIMA with checklist for Stage 2, Permanent Partner Visa.

    01 SEP 08: Hand-delivered Stage Two application, including:
    • Partner Visa Checklist;
    • Statement on Partner Relationship;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know the ongoing nature of our relationship. (This time we used sister-in-law and our boss.);
    • Form 80 (PDF) for me;
    • Certified copies of our personal details pages in our passports;
    • Evidence of our relationship, such as mail in both names at same address, bills, text messages to each other, proof of name change to married name, boarding passes showing joint travel, evidence of events we attended together, photos, evidence of joint purchases and financial obligations; and
    • Photocopy of request for Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF) (AU$43).

    03 SEP 08: Received Federal Police Clearance in the mail.

    05 SEP 08: Mailed police clearance to DIMA.

    08 SEP 08: Letter from Department of Immigration requesting Australian Federal Police Clearance (Form 1101: PDF) and Form 80 (PDF) for my husband as a sponsor who is a NZ Citizen.

    04 OCT 08: Sent off Police Clearance request for husband. (AU$43) (The reason for the delay in getting this done was due to my parents being here for two weeks, so I waited until after they had left to get back into all this.)

    06 OCT 08: Mailed Form 80 and copy of Police Clearance request to immigration officer.

    20 OCT 08: Letter dated from Australian Federal Police as clearance for husband.

    26 OCT 08: Sent AFP Clearance for husband to immigration officer.

    31 OCT 08: Permanent Partner Visa granted, unbeknownst to me until…

    04 NOV 08: Received letter from immigration officer informing me that my application had been approved! (Time passed: 2 months, 3 days)

    Yay!

    For anyone going through this process, if you have any questions, I’m happy to try answer them via the email address above. I can only speak from my experience and am no expert by any means.

    Some people, like we did, might wonder, “Do I need an immigration attorney or migration agent?” The answer for us was a big, fat NO. We got all our forms off the internet. DIMA will send a request for anything you miss. All an attorney can do is hound you to get things done, because you’re still going to have to fill out all the forms yourself. Save the $2000 and do it yourself.

    And finally, my biggest piece of advice is to SAVE EVERYTHING. I was blessed with a certain packrat gene, but if you don’t have it, start getting into the habit of sticking anything do to with your relationship into a file. Anything with both of your names on it. Anything that shows you live together, travel together, socialize together. SAVE IT!

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  11. Lousy T-Shirt? I Think Not

    I went to New South Wales, and all I got were these cute new shoes.

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  12. Since Last Time…

    … my Tash has been here;
    … we got a new tv and Lego: Batman, which consumes us;
    … one or both of us has been sick almost every day;
    … I have barely looked at websites not news or weather related, except Facebook. There’s always time for Facebook, yeah?

    I’m Excited About…
    Coles Online: this is going to change my LIFE! Shopping for groceries FROM MY COUCH, and then they will magically appear at my door at any time I desire??!! I love you, Coles. If only you stocked Method, I would never go anywhere else again.

    … our new chook pen. Frida is completely too big for the cage set-up we had on the veranda, so we bought her the super-deluxe, A-frame chicken tractor. She is spoiled.

    … but she is LAYING EGGS. Did I mention this before? We’ve got eggs coming literally and figuratively out the wazoo. So if you’re in the Brisbane area and want some yummy eggs from a happy chicken, let me know. We can work out some sort of drop off action. EGGS!

    ** Check out the fancy chicken coops at Amazon.

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  13. And We’re Done

    Wow, so today ends the three-week vacation of 2008. My parents left on Thursday, and I’m still a little bit sad. The introvert in me didn’t always love the constant being with people and all the go-go-go we scheduled, but overall, it was so great. I think the best part is just being able to talk to them about stuff now, and they will have a better picture of what we’re talking about.

    We really did pick up the pace, which was good considering the amount of rich food we also ate. But I am really hoping that we can continue that on our own. Sure we won’t be hiking through the Bunya Mountains or walking along the rocky shores of Western Australia, but it’s not too much trouble to find a park or bush trail around here.

    I also have had a bite from the travel bug. I’m excited about finding new treasures in new places, even places close to home.

    That being said, I’ve heard about a new park, we’ve got the foodstuffs for a picnic on hand, and we have yet to try out our new picnic blanket. Today might just be the day!

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  14. Pending Arrival

    I have to say that things are looking… good. It’s not really the “finding places to stash clutter” that I’m worried about, it’s most definitely the “finding it all back again” part.

    So now that it’s crunch time, I’m starting to re-look at what I REALLY need to have done before they get here. So the curtains may not get washed, but since they are staying in our room, the contents of bedside table drawers are getting repositioned, if you know what I’m saying.

    It’s going to be good. Trying not to stress.

    I have to say that things are looking… good. It’s not really the “finding places to stash clutter” that I’m worried about, it’s most definitely the “finding it all back again” part.

    So now that it’s crunch time, I’m starting to re-look at what I REALLY need to have done before they get here. So the curtains may not get washed, but since they are staying in our room, the contents of bedside table drawers are getting repositioned, if you know what I’m saying.

    It’s going to be good. Trying not to stress.

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  15. Providence of Playlists

    I’m sitting here adequately stressed out while putting together the finishing touches on my gigantic package of photocopies and documents to submit with my Stage Two Partner Visa application. I’ve had the MP3s on shuffle and couldn’t ask for a better soundtrack of mellow and moving tunes to keep me going.

    ♥ “Wonderful” – Adam Ant
    ♥ “I’ll Fly Away” – Gillian Welch & Allison Krauss
    ♥ “Mojo Pin” – Jeff Buckley
    ♥ “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
    ♥ “Crazy” – Seal

    And then “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie came up and ripped me out of my happy bubble. Hmm, where’d that come from?

    (Also my intense love for Adam Ant has been rekindled, and right now I’m kicking myself for bringing my Manners & Physique album to work.)

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  16. Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

    I decided that I needed a freshen-up before our holidays. I finally found a Redken salon, and it was close to work. So I went in yesterday armed with a photo of Heidi on last week’s Project Runway. Finally got my old Shades EQ color done and chopped a lot off. Can’t say I look like Heidi Klum, but I’ve got bangs again for the first time in over a decade.

    ** Check out the Project Runway store at Amazon.

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  17. Working Best Under Pressure

    I am finding myself wishing that my parents would stop by a little more often, because dang, it’s motivational. We’re achieving things these days that I haven’t managed to do in the last two and a bit years that we’ve lived in this house… specifically unpacking a box of my stuff that I haven’t opened since we moved. Found $400 in travellers’ cheques, too. I mean, awesome, right?

    So as a bit of a pat on my own little back (and that of my dear husband), here’s a bit that we accomplished today:

    • Wiped down the adirondack chairs on the veranda so we could eat breakfast outside.
    • Dusted the ceiling fan blades in the bedroom.
    • Changed lightbulbs in places we’ve been stumbling blindly through for quite some time.
    • Massive dust and purge in the bathroom. (Thanks, sweetie!)
    • Bought a new washing machine, since our other one completely died after the Great Power Outage of 2008.
    • Bought and changed fuse on our stereo, which also was a result of the aforementioned power issues.
    • Had lunch at a cute little place called Fig Jam. It was an Entertainment Book find, and it was quite lovely. The chips are scrumptious.
    • Went to Bunnings. It’s like the Home Depot of the southern hemisphere. It was familiar and great. Bought pavers, because we’re crafty like that.
    • Purchase and built a shelf unit thingie for the corner where the unpacked box used to be.

    Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. Just 12 days to make the rest of the house immaculate.

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  18. Moist Slices

    The phrase “yummy mummy” repulses me to the core.

    ** Check out the cute board book Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli at Amazon.

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  19. Gamers and Those Who Love Them

    The other day I came across the webcomic The DM of the Rings. It’s about a bunch of gamers playing a D&D-style; game to the story of Lord of the Rings. After a quick debate about whether to admit how much the geek in me loved this, I feel compelled to say that there are points where I nearly died from laughter. If you or someone you know is into gaming and LOTR, you simply must read this one.

    ** Check out Monopoly – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition at Amazon.

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  20. Hmm…

    Until this week, I was unaware that “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” was to the tune of “God Save the Queen”. Is it wrong to suggest there was some sloppy lyric-writing when it results in “Queen” rhyming with itself FOUR times?

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  21. Wondering

    Do I need to notify anyone at the national mint that we’re about to release $800+ in COINS back into circulation?

    We’re finally clearing out our change drawer, and it was, um, well overdue. I am really sad to learn that we can’t pay for anything with it though. (See Question 13.)

    ** Get a Classic Silver Piggy Bank at Amazon.

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  22. Rock Down to Electric Avenue

    While I was tempted to feel rich with all this newly counted wealth we’ve been hording, that was all before the Great Blackout of 2008. Last Saturday night, we were going to bed when I noticed the lamp kind of fading in and out. Finally the power went out in that half of the house altogether, but as we were already in bed, it didn’t really matter.

    We called the power company on Sunday morning. The guy came out and said that there was a faulty switch and that we were lucky it hadn’t caught fire. So he disconnected the power to the whole house.

    Monday, we called a wonderful electrician who came out to change the switch that the power company had disconnected. However, since we were at work, he couldn’t check the switches inside. We got home and the lights worked, but the powerpoints did not. The freezer was thawing.

    Yesterday, he came back out and changed a bunch of stuff and whatever they do. He stayed until almost 7pm to get it working for us. All was good until after he left, and I went to turn on the dishwasher. That’s when we realized that the major appliances would still trip the safety switch.

    So this morning, he came back one more time and found a stray wire from our original bungled wiring that was the issue. So hopefully we’re good to go now. Today we eat meat and lots of it to avoid wasting everything that was in mid-thaw yesterday. *sigh* Not looking forward to the bill.

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  23. Sadness

    The in-laws’ dog killed my chicken Dixie yesterday. I wasn’t a fan of the dog to begin with, but I pretty much hate him now. I’m quite sad.

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  24. 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.

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  25. 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!

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