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?