Monday, May 27

A boy and his bike

I'm missing my little man so I thought I'd share this with y'all. No idea if it'll work! Here's Mouse cleaning his trike - all of his own volition.

Sunday, May 26

It's kinda dusty in here!

Yeah I know, long time no blog. But leaving all that behind for now I though I'd fire this baby back up and just see how it goes. No pressure, no weight of bad blogger guilt (well it was worth a try!)

Actually, I thought I'd fire this back up and use it for its original purpose - to report on my adventures in Texas! So here I am once more. Thankfully one of the good things about my job is that I'm able to maintain my travels to this strangely alluring place that has become a second home.

So let me start with the hear and now and if I get back into the swing of this I might even go back and fill you in on the last few years! Yesterday I arrived in Texas to spend some time with my bestie and get some work done. It one was of those trips where most of the things that could have gone wrong did, and I spent most of the time either running through airports with an express card and being blocked at every turn or standing around waiting for delayed and even cancelled flights! Thank you Qantas for whatever it was you did that had me #7 on a wait list of 74 people for the San Antonio flight!

Needless to say, once I made it out and saw my bestie waiting for me all the rest of it faded into 'meh'. Better still she informed me we were off to dinner (after a shower of course) and we headed out with Lorena, Cullen and Matt to my fave restaurant here - Tre Trattoria - for fresh pulled mozzarella and pan fried gnocchi :) Best jet lag cure ever!

I was doing pretty well on sleeping too, until a huge a$$ thunderstorm ripped into the city with serious lightning and house shaking thunder! A true San Antonio welcome!! I managed to fight the urge for about an hour but then I gave in, opened the blinds and half dozed and half enjoyed the show. The only downside was it left most of the city seriously flooded which put a dampener (sorry) on our morning farmers market and a walk plan. But that's ok because we both had a serious amount of work to do...

Yep, that's how we roll!

And now we're about to go walk to HEB for supplies. Yes, I said walk... Hopefully I'll make it without passing out from heatstroke or dehydration! More soon... (I hope!)

Friday, July 27

Fox rocks

My family are awesome. They let me sleep in for my birthday, and I woke up to a lovely little pile of presents on the table, just like being a kid again except for the whole getting up for work thing (I didn't - worked form home instead!)

Anyhow, yesterday I came home to a cake! And not just any old cake. A birthday cake the my beloved and Marty cooked up together. Marty had decided that I would like a fox for my birthday cake  - no small challenge for the beloved I'm sure! When I left for work I still thought they were joking but I came home to this piece of pure awesome!

Yep, I'm one lucky Pogga :)

And just in case anyone is actually checking this blog here's a pic of small blonde and adorable with his dog brother.

Monday, July 23

Changes changes everywhere...

Those of you who are still inhabiting this dusty corner of the interwebs might notice I've made a couple of tweaks to this here blog. Nothing major and there may be a few bugs yet to flush out but I decided that "Jacwabbit goes to Texas" just wasn't an appropriate title any more! We've been back in Tassie more than 2 years now and even though barely a day goes by where I don't miss it - and I still visit as often as I can - the title just didn't fit. This current one is a place-holder until I think of something more snappy. Apparently "Love, life and stomach contents" wasn't appropriate either! I have no idea why... Knowing how quickly things change around here it may be place-holding for a few years yet :)

Other than that I've made a few minor tweaks to the code and the widgets to fit in with the new blogger, so if things don't work for you or you see any obvious bugs let me know so that I can blame google fix them.

I whipped up the new banner pic in about an hour using Sketchbook Pro on the ipad. I had forgotten quite how gorgeous that app is! I don't have photoshop on this computer so had to made do with pixlr for the remainder so it is pretty darn sloppy but it'll do for now!

Wednesday, July 18

Kenzie dog

Short post to keep this whole blogging ball rolling. I've promised people more photos of the regal sounding 'Noonbarra McKenzie' the Australian Kelpie or 'that $#&@ dog' (depending on the day) so here they are.

Firstly, he's grown a little since I first posted! (crap, I've just realised that one, if not both of my cameras must have their dates all messed up so I have no idea how old he was in any of the photos! In these two he's about 10 weeks.)

He is now 3 months old which means we've had him for five weeks and we (probably) wouldn't give him up for anything! It has been a wonderful and tiring time integrating a new pup and watching Marty transition to a three year old at the same time. The first few weeks with Kenzie it felt like we were just sitting around watching his digestive system! But we are doing much better on that front now.

He gets on well with Marty and in turn Marty is learning to be a good owner. Big learning curve all round but it has been great for Kenzie in terms of exposing him to all sorts of things like helium balloons, noisy toys, noisy children (by the bucketload - see previous post!), scooters... you get the picture!

When we first got him having Marty around definitely helped settle him and it has been great for other things like bathtime too. I just pop Marty in his bucket bath at one end of the tub and Kenzie will happily be bathed at the other end. Marty is also a good and adventurous walker which is handy when you have a pup that need serious hours of walking per day.

Kenzie as he looks now - all leg and flop-eared

Kenzie is incredibly smart and training him has already been a blast. We've just finished the third week of puppy kinder (highly recommended - ask your local vet) and he has mastered sit, drop, come (although only intermittently when he's distracted outside), wait (even out of line-of-sight), shake with both paws (depending which hand you offer him) and he's working pretty hard at roll over. I need to find some new tricks! He's walking really well although we are probably at the point where we should be starting some formal lead work now. He's also got the meaning of 'off' and 'leave it!' as well as the all important 'do your stuff'. Definitely more ups than downs at this point :)

He's a barker though. Will take us a while to work on that methinks - nothing like a project!

Family resemblance perhaps? (Don't pick on me - I was crashed out exhausted after one of the birthday parties!)

Monday, July 16

I can't believe the little Roo is three!

I was going to come up with some kind of snazzy title for this post but I am still so blown away by the simple fact that somehow Marty is now three that I just can't get past that. Or maybe it is because I am absolutely and totally exhausted after being chewed up, slowly digested and finally passing the sphincter of three year old birthday hell that I don't have the energy left to be clever. (I even spelled it cleaver - sigh)

The birthday boy - and yes he is entirely responsible for choosing both the dragon outfit and the retro party hat!

I won't go into too many details but Marty had an awesome week - and is some ways it is still going (still a few pressies tucked away to be opened over the coming days). Thank you so much to everyone who posted  exciting packages, cards, emails or who dropped in, kept me steady during party insanity, or simply kept us in your thoughts! So many wonderful people out there... he's one darn lucky kid ;)

We had a couple of parties so we didn't entirely overwhelm the poor tike with hoards of friends but while that seemed like a great idea at the time, I later realised that meant multiple cakes! What was I thinking?! Those who know me know I'm no baker. I have one cake recipe that I use for everything because it always works (and it is about 50% butter which seems like the right ratio to me). Thems who know me also know that I tend towards the slightly exuberant when it comes to creativity. Not classy, not skilful, just hair-brain ideas and enthusiasm.

One of Marty's current obsessions is with crabs. Hermit crabs in particular. So of course I got the hair-brained notion that I'd whip up a batch of hermit crab cupcakes. Yeah, try googling that for ideas :/ I sent the beloved off with the horrid job of hunting and gathering with the expectation that she would be able to mind-read exactly what kind of sweets I'd need! Lucky for me she delivered :) The next four hours were spent in kitchen hell while I work out exactly how difficult it is to turn small cupcakes and a handful of sweets into %$#& hermit crabs - especially when the most technical piece of baking equipment we own is a scone cutter...

Kitchen chaos and proto-crab...

In then end, after much muttering, layers of quince jelly and a belly full of reject sweets I ended up with a small plate of somewhat recognisable hermit crab cupcakes. The only downside was expending reserves I should have kept for the party the next morning! Live and learn...

The final hermit crab cupcakes!

Cake number two wasn't really my idea. A while back I asked Marty who he would like to invite to his birthday party and he said "Ah, the rainbow lorikeets I think". Sigh. We see them fairly often at our place, especially cleaning up the last of the apples on the trees, but I really wasn't sure we were going to get lucky on the day.

Two of the wee beasties just outside our kitchen window.

The other deciding factor was that the beloved was set on a tree cake. Tree for three, get it? Kind of like last year's 'too cake. So in terms of concept I was sorted, right? A tree and some lorikeets... Sure thing. Early planning stages involved much 3D nonsense and even hand crafted freaking icing birds - however the lethargy of the day before kicked off my innate laziness and instead I came up with an entirely more simple and even easy to cut cake with a tree and three rainbow lorikeets. Cheating perhaps but meh.

Ta da! And no, the birds aren't edible but the buttercream icing is mighty fine and I have been attempting to resist eating the remaining chunk that's in the fridge (and losing...badly)

Marty loved the cake and that's all that matters to this tired Pogga! 

To balance out the buttercream (even though I was the only one eating that by the spoonful) we even had some reasonably non-toxic party food - which was a huge hit when we moved it down to the kid's table and let them have at it!

Here are a few more pics from birthday week. Thank goodness we have a whole year to get ready for the next one!

He was a scooter boy... Nevermind, Advril reference. But Marty did finally get a scooter after asking (politely but persistently) for a whole year. He worked out how to ride it terrifyingly fast...

He also got a hermit crab (not a real one, a kelpie is quite enough at this point thanks!) and an octopus to satisfy some of his rockpool re-enactments.

And speaking of the kelpie, Kenzie did an awesome job to make it through several days of chaos in our house! More updates on him soon but at the end of the party he looked just the way I felt...

Kenzie and newest cousin Annabelle.

Friday, June 15

Introducing our newest family member

We are pleased to announce the safe arrival of our newest family member! Marty's little brother has a perfect four legs and a rather handsome tail, to match his lovely red fur :) Noonbarra McKenzie (or simply Kenzie Dog) arrived this evening from Orange, NSW.

Ok, I know this may be unexpected and yes, according to the blog I'm still stuck in NZ, which I assure you I am not and have not been for some time! Yes there is a lot to catch you all up on but we'll get there. Frankly I am still having trouble dealing with the fact that we are no longer living in Texas and that's news from 2010!

Anyhow, short story - we have a new puppy. He is an Australian Working Kelpie, nearly 9 weeks old, red and tan and FRACKING GORGEOUS! Not to mention intelligent. Don't even go there with the suburban kelpie, you don't know what you're getting yourselves into 'OMG are you NUTS!?' argument. Don't bother. Our choice, our pup and heck, we already have one (human) kelpie :)

Here's some cute fodder to keep you going. They're all sleeping pics because he moves too fast for the camera when he's awake ;) Video soon!

And if you want some background or you want to know exactly why we picked a kelpie, just check out his breeder - Noonbarra Kelpies. More soon!

Wednesday, August 3

The shortcut from hell...

Well hello y'all. I'm in New Zealand. This is very much not where I want to be right now. I left Texas and the grand plan was to try the new Qantas flight that goes from Dallas to Australia. I was reveling in the fact that this new flight path was going to shave hours off my trip home (compared with flying up to LA then out) but fate had a different plan.

Sabn Antonio to Dallas was fine, a bit bumpy from the heat but nothing major. Dallas airport is pretty nice and had a wine bar overlooking a candy store - double temptation. The awesome Qantas guy at the desk moved my seat assignment up from the back of economy to one of the premium seats (but with basic economy service)... And then two hours into the flight we had a medical emergency (and it probably isn't my place to go into the details but I think and hope the lady is ok) and had to turn around and head to LA. So, four hours or so flight time and we're in LA. An hour or so on the ground for refueling and paramedics and we were off again, but this time to NZ because the crew had clocked up way too many hours to go further (and the poor buggers were not only exhausted but had to deal with a whole plane full of grumpy, smelly people).

Now we're in Auckland eating free brek (thanks Qantas) and working out what happens next. It looks like I'm going to be stuck doing a tour of Australian airports... Bris next then Sydney then Melbourne then Hobart! Lucky I'm not terrified of flying right? Oh wait...

Anyhow, wish me luck.

Monday, July 25

Back in the US of A

Howdy y'all. Before I get onto this post I should let you know that my Aussie phone doesn't work while I'm here in the US so I'm missing any calls or texts. However, both our old US mobile numbers still work. Email me if you need them.

Ok, back to your regular programming...

A quick post with a few notes I threw together on re-entering America. I had a great trip over mostly because it wasn't a full flight and I got my upgrade.

Premium economy was awesome (Qantas). Not a whole lot more room but room in all the right places and it reduced the whole press of humanity feeling that you get in economy. Of course that was helped by the fact that I was in a row of two and had no one sitting next to me :) I ate dinner, drank more whisky than was good for me thanks to the awesome Jules (my new flight attendant friend) and watched Voyage of the Dawn Treader which was so-so but filled in the time. Then I popped a melatonin (around 9pm destination time) and snuffled round to find a comfy sleeping spot in the hope of at least dozing for a few hour. I surfaced a few times but figured I'd only been out an hour or so. The next thing I know there's a PA call asking for a doctor and I checked the flight path to see 2.5 hours remaining! I was positive it had to be wrong, I've never slept that well on a flight! There was just enough time left to eat breakfast, fill out my customs forms and watch an episode of Big Bang Theory before we were packing up for landing.

Some notes on re-entering the US:
  • Why is it that Immigration always makes me forget which is my right hand?? Also, apparently I have sucky hands for fingerprinting.
  • I should stop ticking the customs box for food when I only have candy but I just can't, it doesn't feel right...
  • LA smells faintly of poo. This is always my quickly forgotten impression on walking out those doors.
  • Iced tea is as good as I remember. Why can't we make good iced tea in Oz? And i remembered to ask for unsweet which makes me proud of myself even after forgetting which hand was which.
  • A 6 hour layover in LA is waaay overkill.
  • Sorry to harp on but iced tea really is something Australia should get the hang of. For me iced tea should be unsweet and black with a wedge of lemon, not that fruity sugary stuff. It is wonderful!
  • I like shrimp. I like coconut. I do not like coconut shrimp. 
  • I really shouldn't go to chain seafood 'restaurants' for breakfast, especially not in airports!
  • Toilet bowls full of water...seriously? Does the tide really need to be that high? And how come I never manage to remember that little quirk until I go and stick my bally hand in there?
Americans are generally really nice people. There is a noticeable difference between sitting around among my fellow humans in the crowded backend of LAX compared with, say, the crowded backend of Melbourne airport. Australians go to a lot of effort to ignore their fellow man whereas Americans will strike up a conversation, and usually it isn't is a creepy way, just friendly. There's a huge difference between the two behaviors and to me, Australians just seem so suspicious; which is odd when we pride ourselves on our 'g'day mate' attitude... but I think you only get that after you prove yourself to be a mate.

Border protection/customs/immigration don't count under the above but that's ok, they have an important job to do and as a nervous flyer anyway I totally appreciate what they do. Some of them even manage to smile. Never the ones I get mind you...

The other odd thing I've realised is that I have lost my ability to clearly distinguish American from Australian in almost all aspects (other than building and car construction which are both uniquely different). I used to be able to scan faces while we boarded the flight to LA and pick out who was an Aussie and who was from the US just by facial structures and gestures. Now both are so normal to me that I have totally lost that ability. The faces, the language, the brands... Everything from both worlds feels so normal to me now. I'm even having trouble picking accents, well at least I thought I was until I chatted to my beloved on skype and realized how broad her Aussie accent has become. Mine must have too because people here who used to understand me just fine are now cocking their heads and looking puzzled whenever I talk.

Anyhow, I'm in Texas now after a week in Portland. I can't post pics until I find some way to get them off the card. Tomorrow is my first day back at my old workplace AND my birthday so a good combo really.

It has just been pointed out to me that it is officially my birthday in Oz so happy birthday to me...

Saturday, July 16

"Happy Me Birthday!"

We did it, we survived hosting a birthday party for our two year old. TWO! Can you believe it?? It seems like almost no time has passed since we were driving to the hospital in San Antonio with a bag full of sugary snacks and tiny clothes and that moment when we finally met our purple eyed boy.

I'll keep this short and sweet but a huge thank you to everyone who sent cards, packages, messages and love, and to everyone who managed to swing by and join in the chaos today. Marty has had an awesome birthday!

Jo and I spent last night baking slab cakes and cup cakes and since baking has never been our forte I don't think we did too badly on the cake front! We had to make up the design... When we were working out what to make Marty for his 'two cake' and both of us quickly realised that is had to be a cockatoo. He has been obsessed with cockatoos every since a horde of 16 or more black cockatoos descended into out garden and completely stripped all the nuts off the hakea. Marty was entranced and kept wanting to rush out and help them by picking up the ones they dropped in case they missed some. He hasn't stopped talking about the even and since he calls them "tooos" we figured it was a good match for the cake. Black not such a good match so we went for the good old white cockatoo.

Not to bad for a design that came from an internet line drawing and my head. The beloved made a practice cake during the week because she could and I also think because she wasn't entirely convinced that I could cut the shape we needed out of a cake! Pffft... I has knife skills (although I do not want to see another banana lolly for a LONG time).

We also made slightly odd looking mini cockatoo cupcakes so the kids could have some cake without us having to hack into the main one which would a) either upset Roo or b) mean that those coming late would miss seeing it. We probably should have thought more about the construction of these rather than winging it 5 minutes before people arrived...

Of course we over-catered a little on party food but not too badly. The Roo had an awesome day even thought he started it at 5am (his choice) and managed to fall off a chair and smack his head on the table leg just before people arrived. Poor little mite. He was so exhausted by the afternoon that he went down for a nap in the middle of the chaos.

This was by far the most unusual gift he received, but given his well known love of cheese (a story for another time perhaps) it was totally appropriate and very well received.

He's been a bit train obsessed of late (thanks Papa) so I'm glad we somehow didn't managed to give him his Christmas present last year because today was really the perfect time for it. A Brio starter trainset with its own tunnel (tunnels are another obsession, as are train crashes).

One more day of crazy packing, hair cutting and leg waxing tomorrow then I'm off to the States at sparrowfart on Monday. I'm going to miss my family (not to mention all those new toys...)

Friday, July 8

In the bleak midwinter

Winter kind on snuck up on us this year, on account of it having started in early May instead of around now. Now, however... now we really know it is winter! The mountain is covered in snow, down to 200m for those of you who care about these things, and the temps for the weekend are staying in the single digits (Celsius that is). Those two things would be fine on their own, but when you combine them with 50km/h winds of pure icy nastiness it is just darned unpleasant! I have spent this week sitting at my work desk in thermals, my windbreaker AND my big wool coat just trying to thaw.

I won't spend any time dwelling on the many germs and ills that have been lurking amongst us because this blog is starting to read like some try-hard Grey's Anatomy script. Let's just say Jo's lungs are clean as a whistle, mine suck and are going to be internally redecorated by yet another foul poison and our friend giardia has finally departed from his unwelcome visit. Yay winter

I have lots of random bits of news and such so here's the skinny...
Not the best family photo but we're reading Mog and Me

Marty is awesome. I know you already know this but at the moment I find myself caught unaware by this fact over and over again every day now. His language is developing at lightning speed. He has taken to calling me Pogga (with a hard ah at the end) and it has well and truly stuck. He constructs the most beautiful and economic sentences like "Pogga open? Is hard for me" or "No sick in bucket. Sad" (a memory of the unwelcome visit from giardia...) Hard to believe he'll be two next week. Looking back over old posts it seems like both a short and looong time ago that we were packing our hospital bag!

Marty building himself a house :)

My brother's TV show starts next week, on Marty's birthday so that has to be auspicious timing! I'm really looking forward to seeing him play a main character over a whole season! Keep an eye out for Crownies starting on ABC (Australian ABC that is) on July 14 or watch it on iView. There's some great promo footage of his character at (You're looking for Richard Stirling)

While I may be suffering through midwinter I am about to get a little ray of sunshine. On the 18th I'm heading to the States for two weeks - one in Portland and one in Texas! It is a guilty ray of sunshine though because I'm leaving the family behind :( Too short and too much work to do. In some kind of weird planets aligning kind of timing it so happens that I'll be spending my birthday with our Texas family, which is a pretty darn neat present AND it means I get a second birthday with my family here.. (er right?)

Writing a whole blog post on the ipad is much harder than it first appears. This deficit is made up for by the pure awesome that is Infinity Blade. For those who know these things I have finally finished grinding my way through BG10, back to NG and am about to start climbing NG+ in the hope of being able to get the black gear in my store AND get to shard. For the rest of you I now return you to your regular programming.

Oh and did I mention Marty?

Thursday, June 9

He's a well respected man about town

And he's oh so healthy in his body and his mind (to continue the Kinks theme...)

As it turns out we are very thankful that he is so healthy because the beloved and I are not! Somehow we both have pneumonia! (psst, she gave it to me...We have to tone down this whole sharing and caring thing) Actually it really sucks. We both feel absolutely shocking and we're barking like a seal colony. To top it off it looks like some kind of atypical pneumonia and we won't know what is the cause until next week because it is a public holiday Monday (and it took 4 tries to get any blood out of this little needlephobe). Thanks goodness for the Bears, especially Jeannie, for taking Roo off for adventures every day. Anyhow, so far Marty seems healthy so here's hoping he stays that way. The alternative is that the little bugger brought the bug home in the first place!

Yes folks, that is a seersucker suit with a matching peach tie.

But enough of that, onto these super cute photos of Mr Roo. I can't believe our little man will be two next month! He is awesome fun to be around at the moment, aside from the small moments of terrible-twodom that he drops into occasionally. These photos were taken on Easter Sunday when we went to a big Catholic church for baby Frankie's Christening.

The white sneakers do make him look like he was styled by Ellen...

The ironic thing is that we bought this suit in Texas for the previous Easter! (Suits for Easter Sunday are a big deal in San Antonio - probably America in general) We knew Marty wouldn't fit it that Easter but we were hoping he's be able to wear it to the wedding we were going to just after we arrived home. But of course the Roo turned out to be a skinny little elf so it was awesome that he ended up wearing it to an Easter service after all.

Waiting for the audience to go quiet before making his sales pitch...

He was, of course, entirely overdressed for an Australian Easter service but he seemed to make a lot of people happy just by looking so dashing so we didn't care :)

Tuesday, May 10

Spotty wot?

I am spotty. I am itchy. I am cranky. And I am tired. Because every-time I try and fall asleep the itching drives me mad and wakes me up again. I have some non-contagious viral rash that can take weeks to go away and only causes drive-you-mad type itching in some cases. Yay me. I can see why the first part of its name is pity...

Rashes aside we had a lovely Mothers' day and to celebrate such I thought I'd leave you with this awesome little comic Miss B sent us from the New Yorker.

Monday, March 7

Dusting off the blog

Eek, it sure has been a long time between posts. I'm here to blow the cobwebs off this here blog and hopefully get a few posts in before anyone realises I'm back.

I'm going to break all of those blog rules about posting in chronological order and all that and just get down to some good stuff for now. Many of my loyal blog followers have been writing to me and demanding Marty updates so let me get started on them since that is sure to be far more entertaining than any other news at this point (and if you want more then jolly well leave a comment below!)

Last time I posted about the Roo was early October and he was 14 months old and really getting the walking sorted. Now he's nearly 20 months and running, climbing and talking!

This was the little ruffian last time you saw him...

And a few months later...

And a few months after that!

Here seen getting his own breakfast - not entirely successfully but amusing nonetheless!

I won't put too many updates in one post - This one is just a teaser, plus it is helping to get back on the blog horse. The biggest nightmare behind this has been trying to organise my photo library which is now spread across three computers and one back up drive. Not the smartest thing I ever did!