Saturday, January 31, 2009

Australia Day Weekend

Last weekend was a three day weekend in recognition of Australia Day. Chris came up from Melbourne and we went to the coast for the weekend. Our destination was Jervis Bay, about a three hour drive, but after stops at the farmer's market, our favorite winery (Lark Hill), and the Braidwood bakery, we arrived late Saturday afternoon.

I'd booked us a little cottage/cabin about a week and a half before the long weekend and as all of Canberra was making a beeline for the coast, I was pretty pleased to have found us a place at all. We followed the directions to the cabins but the first place we see is a run-down looking trailer house with many haphazard additions and about ten cars in various states of disrepair randomly parked out front. A young girl with a baby on her hip tells us to go up around the corner and go to unit number three for the key. The units were all built about two years ago so we were pleased to see that they looked quite nice. Unit number three, however, looks like all the others so I'm not sure how you'd know which one was the office without the help of the red-headed girl. Anyway, we get out of the car and a young twenty-something red-headed kid comes out and is immediately impressed by our rental car. It's a black and shiny sports car like thing - I can't even remember what it was. Chris booked a compact economy car and was "upgraded" to a mid-size model we nicknamed Kit. Not really our style at all, but fun nonetheless. So Red takes us up to our cabin and hangs around for no less than twenty minutes telling us about his rural adventures of fire-fighting, traffic convictions and subsequent dealings with the local judge who impounded his car. He now drives the judge around in his old car while the judge drinks (Red doesn't drink) and apparently they're buddies. Bewildered? Imagine how we felt listening to these random stories until he finally decided to wander back to whatever he'd been doing before we arrived.

Sunday we spent playing on Hyams Beach, a gorgeous white sand beach that apparently is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having THE whitest sand in the world. I have heard that some other beach had their sand tested in a lab to prove that theirs was actually the world's whitest sand but I'm sure the locals don't care about that. The water was crystal clear and the most amazing color blue given the sun's reflection off of the white sand. The beach was quite busy with families romping in the waves on one end, but walking to the far side of this very long beach, you'll see that we had the place to ourselves.


On the far end of the beach we find a few patches of tiny seashells washed up on the sand....


On the way back to Canberra we stop at Morton National Park and see Fitzroy Falls. If these photos look familiar its because we've been there before but the falls are always a gorgeous sight.


And here a look at the length of the falls....


A really fun weekend with nice food (Indian and an attempt at Mexican that was tasty, but not authentic), great wine, great beaches and great company. Oh and our stay in the cabins was nice enough. It was quiet and we were surrounded by beautiful bushland. Kookaburras sang to us in the trees and Red didn't regale us with any more stories.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Adventures Down Under Gets a Facelift

You might have noticed that I've made a few changes to my blog. I finally updated to the new version of blogger so that I could more easily make changes to the layout and add new features to the sidebars. Notice that you can now subscribe to posts, become a follower of this blog and easily see what time it is in Australia. Look for more additions as I get time to explore the new possibilities. For now, it's a gorgeous Sunday afternoon so I'm going for walk just as soon as I hang out my laundry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Personality Quiz Through Music

The following exercise was sent to me by my friend Walter on Facebook. I signed up for a Facebook account while I was home for the holidays and had a bit more time than usual on my hands. I'd been boycotting the website for ages insisting that I keep a blog and if anyone wants to know what I'm up to, they should look there. For those of you who might not know, Facebook is a social networking website that allows you to connect with friends by sharing photos and keeping tabs on what everyone is up to on a regular basis. So I thought I'd sign on and see what all the fuss was about and now I'm HOOKED! I love it. I have found no less that a dozen people who at one time in my life were very close friends and for one reason or another managed to lose contact. Now I'm a convert, a true believer in the power of Facebook.

And with that note, I'll share this neat little exercise with you. If you decide to procrastinate and try out the quiz too, be sure to post the results as a comment, or on Facebook of course!

A Personality Quiz Through Music

I. Put your music on shuffle.
II. For each question, go to the next song to get your answer.
III. Write down that song title (no cheating!).
IV. Add your own comments if you want.
V. Tag 17 friends who might enjoy doing this.

1. If someone says "Is this okay?" you say:
What Have I Done to Deserve This?
Pet Shop Boys
Okay, I have to say first that I'm not actually a fan of the Pet Shop Boys; Brian snuck that one on to my iPod. Otherwise, fitting.

2.What would best describe your personality:
Big Boss Man
Performed by The Grateful Dead
"Big boss man, can't you hear me when I call? You ain't so big, you just tall, that's just about all."
Now get back to work!

3. What do you like in a girl/guy?
Slave Driver
Bob Marley
What can I say?

4.How do you feel today?
Can't Keep It In
Cat Stevens
I have a slight cold, yes, but no diarrhea thank goodness!

5. What is your life's purpose?
Leap
California Guitar Trio
Who knows what you might find?

6. What is your motto?
Take Me Home Country Road
Performed by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
Once a country girl, always a country girl.

7. What do your friends think of you?
Train Wreck
Sarah McLachlan
Not very accurate. Not at this point in my life anyway.

8. What do you think of your parents?
Beloved One
Ben Harper
Ahhhhh……

9. What do you think about very often?
Butterfly
Mason Jennings
…..and rainbows and fluffy clouds and kittens and puppies and daisies…. :)

10. What is 2 + 2?
Because We Can
Fatboy Slim from Moulin Rouge
I guess 2 + 2 is whatever you want it to be.

11. What do you think of your best friend?
Summit Climb
Jeff Engholm
Sometimes hard work, but worth the effort every time.

12. What do you think of the person you like?
Scattered
Rusted Root
He's anything but.

13. What do your parents think of you?
Rainy Day Women #12 and 35
Bob Dylan
Yeah, not so much.

14. What will you dance to at your wedding?
Shadows
The Web - Forest Phunk
These guys play didgeridoos with electronic tribal rhythms - very cool. FYI, we danced to Neil Young's Harvest Moon in honor of the harvest moon overhead.

15. What will they play at your funeral?
I Call Your Name
The Beatles
...and I probably won't answer.

16. What is your hobby/interest?
Messages
Xavier Rudd
Facebook IS my new favorite thing!

17. What is your biggest secret?
Seven Years
Norah Jones
If the secrets have been in the closet for that long, why let them out now?

18. What do you think of your friends?
Charlotte Sometimes
The Cure
No friends named Charlotte, but I have always admired the clever spider.

19. What's the worst thing that could happen?
Subterranean Deep
In Lakesh
I hear drowning is terribly painful....

20. How will you die?
Pueblo Nuevo
Buena Vista Social Club
In a new town, oh no!

21. Does anyone like you?
Pale Blue Eyes
Velvet Underground
"Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad, sometimes I feel so happy, but mostly you just make me mad"

22. If you could go back in time, what would you change?
The Last Time I Saw Richard
Joni Mitchell
I have no issues/dramas/quarrels with anyone named Richard - that I know of.

23. What hurts right now?
No Creo
Shakira
I don't believe in pain.

24. What rule do you always follow?
Up the Beach
Jane's Addiction
Spend at least one holiday per year lounging on a tropical beach. Doing pretty well with that one.

25. What have teachers always thought of you?
I Am Stretched on Your Grave
Sinead O'Connor
Now that's devotion to a pupil.

26. What's something you do everyday?
Dirty Little Secret
Sarah McLachlan
Wouldn't you like to know?

27. What will you post this as?
Allegro molto
Vivaldi

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Sisters

Still sorting through photos from our time in Cleveland....

LOVE this photo!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Teagan Time

One of the best things about going home was getting to spend quality time with our niece and nephews in Cleveland. This post is a tribute to our four year old niece Teagan who just gets more and more awesome every time we see her.

On our first day in Cleveland I went with Teagan, Heather, Jan and Sue (niece, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law's mother-in-law) to see the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. During intermission we snap a few photos of the girls all dressed up...


After the concert there was more dress-up - here, Princess Teagan adorns me in gloves, scarves and clip-on earrings...


And on the day we left Cleveland, we squeezed in one last cuddle with the munchkin...


About ten minutes after this photos was taken, the imminence of the farewell hit me and I was sobbing and tears were running down my face and Teagan looks at me and says "Oh Auntie Jenn, I'll wipe away your tears" and pulls her sleeve up over her palm to dab away my tears. I think that might have made me cry more but oh, the sweetness!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Reconnecting

There's nothing like being far from home to remind you of the things in life that are truly important, namely, family and friends. Here are a few more photos of my loved ones from our trip to the US.

Julia, Amy and Jenn catch up on gossip and share knitting adventures...


Jenn and Katherine on my last day in Minnesota...


A walk along the San Diego coastline....


...with high school friend Nicole in southern California before the long flight out of LA.


We're back in Canberra now. Jet lag and more tearful goodbyes than I can handle in one month have me feeling out of sorts and a little sad. So I'm sorting through photos and thinking fondly of our four weeks spent between Litchfield and Cleveland. Not that I regret the trip; it's just very difficult to be so far away and not know when I'll see everyone again.