My blog is about the scenic, stressful, spectacular life (and everything screwy in between) of a
California girl turned expat transplanted to the land down under: North Queensland, Australia.

September 30, 2010

Day 2.

Yes, I know I said I would post this yesterday, but I had one of the lowest, worst days of my life yesterday and slept for…hmmm…18 hours. On the bright side, I woke up at 8am today, so I’m hoping to have reset my schedule. So last night I had a dream that I was begging my husband to let me go home. I was in tears, told him I couldn’t do it anymore. When he asked me why, all I can remember is flashes of fast food: Del Taco red burrito, Panda Express orange chicken, and the kicker-Wienerschnitzel chili cheese fries. I woke up this morning and vowed to make something spectacular today. I chose Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagoli soup. That…stuff..oh my God it’s good. Now someone needs to mail me some breadsticks and shrimp alfredo and I will be a happy camper. So on with Day 2:

Day 2: Something you love about yourself.

When I was in weekly therapy, my doc made me write down ten things that I was good at. Every time I wrote one down we would talk about it, and I realized something: every time I would say something good, I would negate it. Like, “I’m a good cook…when I cook. I’m not like, Emeril or anything”, or “I’m a good manager…actually no…scratch that…I’m too emotional”. I’ve been thinking about this answer for a day or so now, and the only thing I can come up with is this: I’m a good person.

When I used to pray, I would always finish with, “please let bad things not happen to good people”, and I meant it. I’ve always had an issue with the world-that it’s NOT FAIR!!! I’m always contemplating why God would take the inherently good, like my grandma. I tell myself she’s in a good place no matter what she may have believed because she was a good person. I truly think that whatever or whomever you worship, as long as you are good and kind you will end up in a good place when you die, wherever that place may be.

My empathy signal is off the charts. I have been yelled at by many bosses for using the time I had managing to console an upset employee, or sending someone home who was in tears instead of making them “suck it up and work”. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in more pain than you can imagine from being Bipolar, and a job is a freaking job. You need to take care of yourself first. I have a friend that is having a really hard time at the moment, and I have cried on his behalf because I just want everything to be okay. Many times I have yelled for God to “take me!!!'” when a family member has gotten sick or had a cancer scare.

Now of course I can negate this thought by saying too much empathy is a bad thing, but I can’t change how I am, no matter how hard I’ve tried in the past. When I meet people, even perfect strangers, I automatically try and put myself in their shoes or see if there is something I can do to brighten their day. You might be thinking, “but you’re not a little bad?” I think we all are. I’ve had the urge to punch someone in their special area. Have I? No. I’ve had to be the bad guy and fire people. It’s funny because even when I’m the disciplinarian at work, I feel sick after having to bring the hammer down on a lazy or useless worker because I know that it’s my face they will remember for firing them. They might hate me. They might say horrible things behind my back. I try to let the person know it’s not personal, but I may also spend more time then necessary trying to empower them or get them to see that this could be a wake-up call to do bigger and better things (I’m like George Clooney in “Up in the Air” except I remember everyone’s face and story).

So to conclude, I love that I am a good person. Yeah. I want happiness and love and rainbows to all the people in the world that deserve it. So there! :)

September 29, 2010

6am and Wacky Weather.

This is a mini-post, as I am still on the bandwagon for the 30 Days of Truth challenge. Since the failed Townsville day trip last Sunday, I have just been completely off-kilter. I’m eating once a day, sleeping heavier than I ever have, and have a horrible brain fog. Monday I woke up around 9pm, and I couldn’t even tell you when I had gone to sleep that day. The last three days are a blur of sleep and grogginess. Tuesday morning (yesterday) I tried to get a small jolt of sleep in the middle of the night so I could stay awake the rest of the day, but I guess my body has this weird notion that twelve hours of sleep is plenty. Psssh.

So, I did what I always do when I can’t sleep: I fidoodled around on my computer. Did my blogs, played The Sims 3, read my Facebook and e-mails, all with the feeling of being in a dream state. It’s really odd how I have been feeling. I decided to chalk it up to too much sleep and not enough food. By 5:30am or so, I was hungry and bored and not sleepy, so I looked outside and saw it was just starting to get light out. A really random idea popped into my head: why not talk a walk? A walk! Oh my gosh, yes! I’m going to take a WALK!

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “uh, Hed? It’s…a walk. No biggie”. No biggie? It’s a hugeie! (That looks like it would be pronounced “huggy”, but I meant “huge-E”. Get it?) I usually don’t walk unless I have to. Seriously. Exercise is foreign to me. But I thought it would get me out of my sleepy funk and get some blood pumping into my ol’ system. I grabbed my walking shoes (worn once!), my hubby’s IPod, my camera, and set out on my walkin’ journey.

30 Seconds to Mars “This is War” is a good walking album! I lip-synched every song (I couldn’t actually sing along-I’m fat! I was using all my breathing for walking!) and chose to walk around the little triangle block, the only block I’m familiar with. The walk…lasted five minutes (I never realized how small the damn block was). I had an urge to keep going, but with no cell phone or sense of direction, I was afraid I’d end up lost and screwed. I ended up just walking around and taking pictures for fifteen more minutes.

 See the sunrise? PROOF that I was out and walking!

 No, really! This was at the end of the block!

 This kind of looks like the “Paramount” movie logo.

 I waited for like five minutes for a cute parrot to get into the shot!

I took the opportunity to get a picture of the secret frogs on our property. There are these little bright green frogs that live in the grating of the steps of the little camper near our garage. You can’t see them without a torch (flashlight), so I stuck my camera in a hole and snapped this (poor little frog is probably blind now from the flash!):

And that was my morning. By the time I got back the family was awake, and I had a cuppa (“cuppa” is the standard name for a cup of tea or coffee. Pretty much all Australian lingo is a shortened or cutesy version of a real word) with mum and an apple. My husband went to his third doctor’s appointment in three weeks today as well. He has been coughing so bad he throws up, and even with two rounds of antibiotics and countless cough medicines it hasn’t seemed to get any better. He finally called the doc on the other side of town for a second opinion. The doctor heard his cough, checked his lungs and confirmed his suspicion of Whooping Cough. Poor boo. They stuck Q-tips up his nose for a sample to send to the lab for a true diagnosis and send J home with new antibiotics, a nasal spray and an inhaler. Oh, and the doctor’s visit took about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes! Apparently the cough takes a full 8-12 weeks to run its course, so I’m hoping the meds may speed it up a bit. And I’m fine. I have the worst immune system on the planet and I haven’t caught it (I told J it was the US vaccinations then I went “USA! USA! USA!”).

After J picked up his prescriptions, he got Red Rooster for us. Red Rooster. *drool*. I got fish and chips. YUM! I started getting really drowsy around 2pm (it seems like every time I eat lately, I either start feeling sick or sleepy), and went to lay down for a nap. J walks in to our bedroom and tells me, “there’s a storm comin’”. I tell him no way, that I walked this morning and it was cloudy but bright out. I poke my head out the window and it looks ominous and really windy. No more than five minutes later the sky opened up. I shot out of bed and was like, “WTF IS THAT!?!?!?!” and J says, “see? Storm!” We go downstairs and mum is corralling the dogs and their beds into the house and it looks like Hurricane Dingo just touched down (hee hee, I made that name up). I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m pretty sure it would be classified as a “monsoon”. I grabbed my camera and took a video of it. Pardon my, like, California accent in this, by the way!

It ended within twenty minutes. I was so drowsy I finally fell asleep…only to be awoken by my husband coming home-at midnight. Damn.

September 28, 2010

Day 1.

Hey, like the new look of my page? It took me for-freaking-ever to tinker around with it, but I’m pleased. The background is a picture I took in August 2008 when we were staying at Jupiter’s Casino. The sky was so pretty. And I added my tattoo/Paul Frank charm bracelet to the picture because, well, just because I guess.

So yesterday you may remember I posted that I was going to take the challenge posted by Molly over at Life of Cynicism called “30 Days of Truth” (and one of the blogs I follow and love about a British Expat in Melbourne with impeccable taste, Fully Fashioned, is joining in, so go read her truths after reading mine!). Well today it starts. The first question is

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.

I had this inkling to first babble on and on about my stomach, but something I like to keep hidden in the dark keeps jumping out at random and reminding me what my biggest flaw is. I happen to suffer from Bipolar disorder. According to Wikipedia, Bipolar is defined as “a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. The elevated moods are clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes, or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are usually separated by periods of "normal" mood; but, in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, which is known as rapid cycling.”

Now, if you know me, you would see that I am generally never full of energy, never miss an opportunity for sleep, and rarely go off kilter. It’s because I happen to fall into the “Bipolar II” category, which means “at least one hypomanic episode and at least one major depressive episode; with this disorder, depressive episodes are more frequent and more intense than manic episodes. It is believed to be under-diagnosed because hypomanic behavior often presents as incredibly high-functioning behavior. Indeed, to a physician or psychologist specializing in mood disorders, highly confident ambition might appear to be symptomatic of hypomania if that individual's goals are viewed as unrealistic.”

What this basically means is my “highs” are categorized by, oh, plans to go on a diet where I keep a journal and write down the calories, fat, and serving size of every morsel that goes in my mouth; going through every photo on my computer and naming it, creating sub-folders for different things and re-editing them one by one; starting college while working 10-hour days and telling myself I’ll sleep when I’m dead. My “highs” tend to last around a month and cycle to devastatingly low “lows” where I quit school, my job, my diet, essentially my life and stop getting out of bed.

I was diagnosed at 15. Around that time I just fell apart at the smallest things. I actually remember crying over spilled milk. Back then I thought it was my teenage angst; that no one understood me and that if someone broke up with me my life would be over. Looking back, I see how my destructive, angry tendencies were depression I didn’t know how to deal with. I want to punch people like Tom Cruise who say that “there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the body”. Telling that to a person like me is like telling a Jew that the Holocaust was made up. It just blows your mind that people can be so ignorant.

I wouldn’t wish mental disorders on my worst enemy. It makes you become your worst enemy. Things that seem right an hour ago become wrong. Happy days turn into days you wish never existed for the slightest reasons. I have an extremely hard time regulating my emotions. Thankfully I am aware of this and have an inherent fear of hurting someone’s feelings or people not liking me so I usually tend to be excessively nice or friendly while wanting to strangle you on the inside (ask my old restaurant employees: I would smile and apologize profusely to a customer, then go in the kitchen and yell, “I’MA CUT THAT MOTHER F*CKER AT TABLE 51!!!”).

As for treatment, cycles of depression and mania usually follow suit with how I function. If I feel fine for an extended period of time, I tell myself I don’t need medicine or therapy and may function fine for years. Other times I try 20mg of this, 100mg of that and see if I bleed out my ears or tremble profusely due to side effects. All of my life has been a cycle. I have started and stopped so many jobs I don’t even know what I want to do for a living anymore. It’s a constant battle.

So to all of my fellow bloggers or readers contemplating this question for themselves, remember that the extra skin around your knees or a vestigial tail is nothing. I urge you to really take a look at yourself and be thankful that you have a healthy, functioning brain. I know that may sound silly, but the brain is responsible for every single thing we do. It’s who we are. Imagine the feeling if you changed every single day, or hour sometimes. How would you regulate? I struggle with this every day of my life. I write to feel better. To feel useful. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed in the morning, and I don’t seem to possess the “get up and go” guy that most people have on their shoulder that propel them even in times of stress or hardship.

I’m not grumpyface all of the time. I have a great, loving family on both sides of the world. I have friends who live fulfilled, happy lives. I have a perfect (to me) husband that…honestly, I don’t know where I would be without him. Truth is hard to look at sometimes, especially when you strive to live a “normal” life so people may envy or praise you. We’re all human. This is me.

September 27, 2010

30 Days of Truth.

I can’t resist a challenge (or the urge to talk about myself-duh), so I accepted a writing “assignment” posted by Molly over at Life of Cynicism titled “30 Days of Truth”. It starts tomorrow (their Monday, my Tuedsay-when I type that I always feel like I’m in the future somehow), and the first ten days will be about the following questions:

Day 1: Something you hate about yourself.
Day 2: Something you love about yourself.
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 5:Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 6: Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 7: Someone who has made your life worth living.
Day 8: Someone who has made your life hell or treated you badly.
Day 9: Someone you didn't want to let go, but who drifted away.
Day 10: Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know.

I’m actually excited to post, because I believe that self-reflection is crucial to evolving as a person (thanks to SS for that lesson). Sometimes when I post on this blog instead of my first blog, it feels like an angel/devil relationship. This blog is about the little things that make me smile. Observations that are so different from my way of life back home. Opening my eyes and really viewing the world as it is now. (Man, I sound really philosophical today, don’t I?)

Right now I’m in sadface mode, because yesterday my husband and I made plans to make a day trip to Townsville and visit three of the farmer’s markets being held in the morning. I love farmer’s markets, so I was really looking forward to spending a day shopping (something I usually hate doing unless necessary). I was so excited in fact, that I was like a kid on Christmas and couldn’t sleep at all. Started getting ready at 5:30am to leave town at 7, and got a typical roadhouse breakfast:

 It’s what Patrick Swayze ate every morning, too.

I ended up only eating about half of the chips (fries) and a third of the coffee, and saving the muffin for later in the day. I even made a CD for the trip-Bloc Party, Dub Pistols, Rise Against, Jonsi, Black Eyed Peas, Chevelle, Hot Chip (I like a lot of different music). It started to rain during Broken Bells’ “The High Road”, and the song totally fits the picture to me:

 It’s too late to change your mind. You let loss be your guide.

J says looking at the roads now reminds him of how, when driving in California, on each side of you the roads are littered with buildings-except now it’s all trees.

4 WTF does that sign even mean???

 The mountains here remind me of volcanoes.

Closer to Townsville the sky broke through, and it’s always so blue. No grey smog, nothing to block it. Just pure sky.

As we neared the first market, we passed the “Riverway”, and there were people jet skiing on it! Note to self: must buy fishing pole soon.

After the market we walked around the shopping mall that was nearby, and my stomach started to hurt. I took some medicine and continued on, because this was MY DAY! Oh and, it officially marked 30 days of being in Australia. Woo hoo! My husband booked us a marina view hotel room at Jupiter’s Casino for the night, and threw in some chocolate covered strawberries to greet me when we arrived. I stopped to ask a customer service guy what time the shops opened and…he…sounded…LIKE ME!!! We both asked where the other was from (Tennessee) and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance (just kidding). I saw a familiar sign-not Starbucks, but passable!

Gloria Jean's

…but my stomach was just aching. No coffee for me. We headed to the next centre, and by then I was shaking and sweating. I won’t go into detail, but I was flat out sick. It was 10am, and the hotel check in was at 2pm. I asked J to see if we could check in early, but the hotel was still cleaning from the night before. There was no way I could shop for four more hours, so he called back and cancelled the room (and they took pity on us and didn’t charge us any fees), and we drove back home. No chocolate covered strawberries. No arts and/or crafts. No sushi for lunch (we found a sushi place online the night before, and I was in full Homer Simpson drooling mode). We got back home around 1pm, and I slept for twelve hours. I still don’t know why I was so sick-I ate about ten chips, and the night before I had rice for dinner.

On the bright side, my sick, no food for eighteen hours self stepped on the scale this morning and found that I have lost fifteen pounds since arriving 30 days ago. Holy crap! I think it’s definitely my aversion to food here, not some magical “diet and exercise” regimen I started or anything. The best thing is I’m in another weight bracket now-let’s just say I’ve hit the “under XXX” mark. That’s something to smile about for today, right?

September 26, 2010

Hed’s Sunday Shout-out.

Holla!

So last week’s shout-out was a bust because of my birthday, but this week I have a triple threat of a shout-out!

I have been following Diary of an Indy Grrrl for at least a few months now, and every post I have read doesn’t disappoint. When I first stumbled upon her site, I knew it was for me because the title had cupcakes and skulls and polka dots and tattoos!

The Diary of an Indy Grrrl

Seriously, her blog title makes mine look like it was made by a four year old. What hooked me was her hodgepodge of fashion, jewellery, and craftables (did you know craftables isn’t a word? It should be) that she regularly updates. I get excited at the little things in life, so when she posted about organizing your life by colour, it made me want to pull out all of my drawers and knickknacks and start fresh (until I remembered I had a husband who would kill me for doing that). Doesn’t this picture make you happy to be a girl?

(Side note, it makes me miss my welcome sign I left in the States that J let me get away with:)

New Welcome Sign

She has posts ranging from kick-ass baking products to art and photography books to urban legends. I especially enjoy her try-outs of nail polish because I can live vicariously through her nails, since I bite mine to the point of extinction. Look at this colour! How cute!!!

One of the first posts I ever read was about the short-lived TV series "My So-Called Life". If I were God, I would make that show run for life. That show was just…amazing. I died my hair red after Angela did. I still die every time I see Jared Leto! Anyway, Indy Grrl made a collection of fashions that she imagined Angela and Rayanne would be wearing if they were frozen in time and here today. I think she totally hit the nail on the head with both of them.

Angela Chase

Rayanne Graff

She has a nice idea for the problem of having too much jewellery and not enough places to wear them. She goes through her jewellery box once every few weeks and rotates them to a tray, where she will pick and choose only a handful. Her taste makes me want to scour the Internet for new accessories!

As I posted, Indy Grrl was the brains (and credit) behind my "Hed's Friday Flick". She happens to pick really interesting or campy movies and gives you the lowdown about them. Seriously, I would have never even known about ""The Human Centipede" if it wasn’t for her review! (wait-is that a good thing or a bad thing?) Lastly, as any creative person should, she has her wares up on Etsy. Like I said on my last shout-out, I don’t have a molecule of creativity, so when I see someone’s heart go into their work I am awe-inspired. Here are a few of her goodies:

 A Typewriter necklace. Look at the detail!!!

 Mmmmm, donut.

 Ack! I love all of her stuff!

 These may be my next purchase!

One last thing-Indy Grrl is hosting a giveaway! Yep, that’s right, you can be the lucky winner of muy goodies!

All you have to do is go to her blog here and follow the instructions. Good luck!

So this concludes today’s “Sunday Shout-Out”. Want to shout out your blog, band, clothing line, artwork, favourite snack food? Please drop me a line at Hed.Mitchell@gmail.com and I’d love to feature it. Holla!

September 24, 2010

Hed’s Friday Flick-BATTLE!

HFF

This week hubs and I watched two movies back-to-back that everyone raves about but we never had the opportunity to see for some reason or another. The thing is, my husband is saying “Pineapple Express” was better than “The Hangover”. WTF? Let us compare, shall we?

It’s hard to fully explain both movies, as the core of both comedies centre (really? centre? It’s CENTER, AUSTRALIAN SPELLCHECK!) around a series of mishaps that, if explained in full, would give away the awesomeness of both movies. Oh, and the SPECTACULAR Ken Jeong is the bad guy in both movies!

“Pineapple Express” is about a summons-server/stoner named Dale (Seth Rogen as the fat stoned guy-what a stretch!) who goes to his drug dealers’ house to buy some more weed, and the dealer (James Franco) gives him a super rare strain of weed he just received called “Pineapple Express”. He’s the only drug dealer in town who has the special weed, who got it from his drug dealer Red, who got it from his drug kingpin. You follow me? He leaves and goes to his next summons serving site and witnesses a murder. He freaks out and drives away, dropping his joint. The murderer (who happens to be the kingpin) runs out, finds the joint, and realizes it’s Pineapple Express. Dale goes back to his dealer’s house and finds out he’s the only buyer that has bought the Pineapple Express. He and the dealer leave to contact Red, who is already getting beat up and interrogated by the kingpin’s henchmen. You still with me?

At this point I was like, “zzzzzz” because I’m not one for stoner comedy, but this is where the movie got funny. The two guys go on the lam (not so much “the lam”, since they are stoners and lose all sense of time and urgency), finally contact Red, and the fight the three of them have is just hilarious. I’m re-reading what I wrote and it sounds like a thriller or an action movie with all the murdering and fighting, but it’s really not. It’s a buddy comedy, believe it or not. My favourite comedy movie of all time is “Anchorman”, produced by the same guy who produced this movie, so all of the same themes, writing, people, etc. that make “Anchorman” funny is present in this movie. Just not as much (first off, there’s no Will Ferrell or Steve Carell). My favourite part of the movie was when a character was waiting around to die after being shot, and when Dale goes to find him the dying guy is playing “Crossroads” by Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony. That’s my sense of humour right there. My husband said that this movie was way funnier than “The Hangover”, but I beg to differ.

 

I tend to not get super hyped up at movies when they have a MASSIVELY HUGE critical reception (still haven’t seen “Avatar”), so I never had any urge to see “The Hangover”. Finally a few months ago I was trying to look for it on pay-per-view, checking to see if it was on sale in the DVD stores, even if any family members had a copy I could watch. No such luck. My mum happened to record it, and while I was making a PB&J sandwich she started to play it, and I sat down and watched the whole thing. Wow, just…wow.

“The Hangover” is another buddy comedy that starts with three friends (and one weird ass future brother-in-law), one being the groom, heading to Las Vegas for a bachelor’s night two days before said wedding. They settle in their villa (I want to stay at Caesar’s Palace so bad now!), get dressed for a night of partying they will never forget, and then…have no recollection of what happened the next morning. Oh, and the groom is MIA. The last thing the viewer sees of their wild night is the foursome taking shots of Jager on the roof of Caesars. The now threesome spend the next day collecting clues and piecing together what exactly happened the night before. I can’t even explain in sentences what they go through, so I’ll use some keywords: baby, Asians, roofies, tiger, breastfeed, tooth, Rain Man, Mike Tyson, $80K, concussion, bartender on a cruise ship, Mercedes, cop car…I’m serious. Too hard to even explain. My favourite part of this movie is…well, almost every single line in the movie. The way Zach Galifianakis (the weird brother-in-law) says “ret-ard” and sings the “best friends” song, when Stu (the dentist) sings the song on the piano, the way Phil has no regard whatsoever for the baby, Ken Jeong and his gay-gangster ways (have I mentioned I love Ken Jeong?), The Dan Band playing the reception (ala “Old School”). There’s just so much going on in the film that makes it a big ole pile of awesome.

                            I couldn’t find a great trailer, so here’s a funny ass clip. Enjoy.

So, in closing I give “Pineapple Express” 5 Hed Stars «««««    and “The Hangover” 9 Hed Stars «««««««««   

What are your thoughts? Is “Pineapple Express” funnier than “The Hangover”? What are your favourite parts of the movies? Is there a movie you want me to review for next weeks Friday Flick? (I have all the time in the world here, folks!)

September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Part Two.

I promised I would post my birthday presents (because I love milking my birthday each year), so here they are. Not pictured is the nice sums of cash I got from my mom, my Pop, and my brother; a butterfly mobile from my mum’s BFF; and a gift card from my sister which was spent the very next day!

Before I start, I have to give a HUGE shout-out to my wonderful friend Di for making my birthday cake for my 30th/our going away party before we left for Australia:

Best Cake Ever 1 When I saw this, I teared up. Seriously!

Did I ever mention I’m a huge Twilight dork? No, no, don’t unfollow me! I don’t have an “Edward” tattoo or anything, but I love to read. All my people at work know on my break I love to read a book, and I swear every girl asked me, “Have you read Twilight yet?” and my reply was always, “no! I’m not some gay twelve year old!” Well, one day I ran out of books, so for shits and giggles I bought Twilight…and was hooked by the third page. So I mentioned to my mum and sister-in-law that I wanted the hardcover box set-and they got it for me! So I’m a happy Team Edward now.

Twilight Saga! 

Eiffel Tower Cushion

More of the Paris theme for the house! An Eiffel Tower cushion from my sister-in-law.

Cup and Saucer Set

My first piece of dishware for my future kitchen! Thanks Mum :)

Paul Frank Shoes

I am in love with the store Karmaloop. They have the best selection of Paul Frank, and they ship to Australia! I got an amazing package via my wish list containing these Julius canvas shoes;

Paul Frank Charm Bracelet

A Paul Frank charm bracelet with removable charms (so I can add one to my new super special charm bracelet;

Skurvy Charm Bracelet

A Skurvy bracelet (and the flashing “30” button I got from mum); and my super new awesome Julius bowler purse (which is as cute inside as it is outside)

Paul Frank Bowler

Paul Frank Bowler (inside)

And lastly, my “birthday cake” from my mum, who made this cheesecake all by herself! (okay, Sara Lee was involved lol)

Happy Birthday Cheesecake

Normally I would be looking forward to the interim holidays before Christmas, but obviously Australia doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (if you’re asking yourself why they don’t, OPEN A HISTORY BOOK!), and devastatingly, HALLOWEEN! WTF!?!?!?!

September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hi friends, I had my Friday Flick and Sunday Shout-out ready to post, but since this was my thirtieth birthday weekend, I couldn’t be bothered to post it. (I’ve got a double feature lined up for this Friday Flick though!) Friday was my birthday…but because I have a fear of the big 3-0 I kind of let it stretch out until the 17th landed in California at 8pm-because technically that is my actual birthday, not Friday the 17th in Australia. What? It’s a long story, but I never thought I would live to see 30. Seriously (I even told my husband I wanted a death-themed birthday party when I turned 30, with a coffin cake and everyone had to wear black). So all day I was waiting for a plane to drop on the house or a snake to bite me while I slept, but nope. I’m officially 30. Sigh.

I can look at it in two ways: I can mourn for my wasted twenties, when at nineteen the world was in my hand and I wasted it with bad boyfriends, depression, food and general lethargy. Or, like my best friend Al says, we can have a “do-over” and start this decade fresh and full of life, hope, and promise (OOH A SIGN! When I was typing that sentence, my Ipod changed to “Let it Be” by The Beatles. Freaky!). I’m in Australia now. If you would have told my 20-year-old self I would be living abroad, I would have laughed at you and told you I would NEVER fly overseas, let alone have my family so far away from me. But ten years is a lot of time. Time where I moved out on my own (far away from my family even), watched a loved one die, got numerous tattoos and piercings, had heart and tonsil surgery in the same month, flown overseas three times (and lived!), got married, had many jobs and gained many friends. (Ooh, now Tool is on. That’s my favourite band!) So I have to be grateful for my good and bad experiences, because I only ended up with a few bruises and have more wisdom and reflection within myself. But I still am afraid of cockroaches. I’ll be celebrating my eightieth birthday and still be afraid of cockroaches.

Anyway, on to my birthday! Yay! Mum wanted to take me out for morning tea with her BFF. I’ve never had morning tea. I don’t even drink tea! My American mind thinks of tea time as sitting on a parlour couch, holding a teacup and politely eating a crumpet. My husband, as long as I have known him, has called mealtime “tea”, so when mum said she wanted to take me out for tea I knew some form of food would be involved (another Aussie term for food is “tucker”). We went to this really nice little place called Henry’s, and it was just the three of us in the entire place for at least an hour. They had about 20 different kinds of teas, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye flavoured syrup. I ended up with a caramel flat white (coffee friends! Unless you go to a coffee place, there are usually only a couple of options when you order. The first is a tall black-we know it as an Americano-espresso with hot water. The next is a flat white-coffee and milk. Rarely is there an option for flavours, which makes me a sad panda). It was so good! Mum picked out a pink cupcake for me, and I also got a “banofee” (banana and caramel coffee) tart. It was the first time I’ve ever had a tart, and it was amazing! (I ended up bringing one home for my hubs, but I…um…ate that one too. My bad.) Another thing I have to get used to is when someone asks you if you want “cream”. Cream here=whipped cream. Cream in coffee=milk. I took a picture of my tea, because it was so cute and dainty!

Yum!Cream” is often served on the side, as shown.

I also took a picture of mum’s, because you know you’re in a nice tea shop when you get your own French press (coffee aficionados know what I’m talking about!)

Ooh la la! It’s the little things that make me happy!

We were both jazzed about the painting on the wall that I had to take a picture of it. It was a portrait of tea cups on the left and on the right were hanging tea cups! It was really cute and unique (mum said she may use it for her Facebook picture, lol).

When we got home, my husband had these in his hand:

<3 I love him :)

So all in all I had a very nice birthday. I’m the baby of my family (in all sense of the word!), so I like to milk the hell out of the day I was created. So tomorrow I’m going to post the pictures of all my nifty birthday presents! Thanks to my friends and bloggers who wished me a happy birthday. It’s an amazing feeling to know how many people care about you!

September 16, 2010

I heart my hubs.

So I’ve been feeling a little down today. Tomorrow is my thirtieth birthday (which makes me cringe-I’m already 30? WTF??), and as much as it sounds cool to say “I had my thirtieth birthday in Australia!”, I’m sad. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my cats. I miss The Cheesecake Factory.

Today my husband had a day off so he, mum, and myself went around town. We had lunch at a little place that serves sandwiches and hot carved meats, and I ordered a roast beef roll. I got a slice of roast beef on sandwich bread. We had to return some pants, so we decided to have a looksee at the clothes that were on sale. I am literally a size away from having to special order my clothes, apparently (mum says that I would find heaps in a larger city, and I have already found City Chic). Because summer is coming, I was looking for a bathing suit as well. There’s nothing more soul-crushing then having to choose a swimsuit. The lighting sucks, you’re exposed more than you usually are, and if you have to go a size (or two) up it breaks your heart. I just wanted to get out of there, go home, and cry into my ice cream. My husband wanted to make one more stop before we headed back, a jewellery (yes, that’s how it’s spelled here, with two “L”s) store.

I stood outside really mopey and mum had me walk in with her. I’m not really one for jewellery (I’ve had the same hoop earrings in my ears for longer than I’d like to admit), so I thought he was looking for his sister, whose birthday is next week (she mentioned to him she wanted a watch). The lady at the counter looked over at me and asked, “what charms do you prefer, Pandora or silver?” I was blown away. When my husband and I first started dating, I told him I would one day like an old-school charm bracelet from him. Every year or on every special occasion he could add a special charm to it (on my birthday he ended up getting me a silver heart necklace with a silver antique key, and I wore it every day). I thought it was super sweet and extremely special that he remembered! (I think mum helped remind him too, lol) I turned my sad frown upside down :)

They had a tray of Australian-based charms, and I told J that I think in honour of being here on my thirtieth, I should get an Australian flag as my first charm. So we special ordered this one:

Oi Oi Oi!

His mum noticed a computer charm and said I just HAD to get that one (because yes, I met my lovely husband on the Internet), so we got it as well.

After we picked out the Australian flag in the catalogue, we stumbled upon this one, and mum said she had to get that one for me because it’s where J and I got married (Paris Las Vegas!).

ET

I said, “ooh, babe, maybe for our wedding anniversary you can find a locket to add to this!”, and his mum picked out another charm from the catalogue that we ended up ordering as well! (she said “might as well order it now, right?” Okay!)

(Getting a tattoo of this one day)

The bracelet was a simple silver chain with a padlock lock (I liked that it looked like a charm!)

 

This means the world to me. I hope one day I can pass it on to my children (or maybe my nieces!) and share with them the story of why each charm was chosen. P.S. These pictures are courtesy of Amanda Jo Charms, you can follow her blog here. See you later, friends. I have to go find a Paul Frank charm!

September 15, 2010

The House.

What may be normal or ordinary for some may not be for others. Take my new home, for example. This might look like any other Queensland home: the eucalyptus trees, the A-shaped terracotta roof, the appearance of looking like it was built on “stilts” (I found out it’s for circulating air around). But to a number of Americans, their address is in a Tract-where every house looks the same in one way or another and are built really close together. That’s why I decided to post a little photo journey around our home (mostly the outside).

Two things I think that are the most different in terms of this house and the American houses I’ve lived in are the doors and windows. I’m used to a wooden door that opens and shuts, and windows that do the same. The house we live in here have two sliding doors with two attached screens that work as the front doors (although in three weeks here I have never seen them closed or locked!), and the windows are a massive chunk of the wall where the top half slides open and shut like a typical window but the bottom half are the manual windows where they are three glass screens you open or shut with a lever. They’re all really nifty, and there is always a breeze (this coming from the girl who uses the a/c in the middle of winter!). Oh also, the walls are made of brick (they look like bricks anyway), whereas American houses are made of cheap plaster and wood. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a house that is unique. So, on with the pictures!

 This is what we see looking from our house.

The front yard, the first thing you smell is Eucalyptus trees.

 The "footpath", although I will probably never walk through it-spiders, snakes, mosquitoes??

 The garden. A pawpaw tree, carrots, tomatoes, corn, pineapple, potatoes, green beans.

The tiki pool, and the cockatoo cage.

 The backyard.

This is what I see from my bedroom window. That box thing is really nifty-the roof is slanted, and all the rainwater collects and drains into that tank for recycling. Go green!

 The "Gwendeck", named for my husband's Nan (grandma) who helped with the project.

 This is where the magic happens. Just kidding! It makes me think of a hotel on a beachfront.

  Mum found this clock before we got here to remind us of our wedding in Paris (Las Vegas lol).