I often write about Australia but tonight I thought I would share some fun thoughts I have had about my heritage and growing up in Louisiana. My father was native to Louisiana and grew up in the southwestern part of the state known as Acadiana. His childhood was in Jefferson Davis Parish and he went to USL which is in Lafayette, Louisiana. I take pride in having Cajun in my bloodline but I also have another boot place in my heritage.
My mother’s father immigrated from Naples, Italy at the age of 9 through Ellis Island. I find it quite amazing that my father who was born a sharecropper’s son was born in a state that looks like a work boot.
My mother’s father was born in a country that looks like a lady’s boot.
I was given the name Dianna because my dad didn’t like the name Johanna and didn’t want me named Alanna because he thought his brother-in-law Alan would think I was named after him. My mom tried to name me after her sister Anna and I loved the thought of Alanna because I would have been named after my mom and her sister. Dad was still adamant I would not be named Alanna. My middle name is Louise and that is supposedly after my grandfather on my dad’s side (John Louis) but Alan’s wife, Louise is my dad’s sister. I really loved Aunt Louise but I am supposedly named after my grandfather. I had asked my mom about this long ago when I was a child. I know she always tried to name her children after family members or some sort of variant of it because it was her family tradition to do.
Every time people notice my accent, they often wonder where I am from. When I explain Louisiana, they automatically think of New Orleans. I have to explain that I grew up on the west-central side of Louisiana. It’s known as the Crossroads. The parish I was raised in for the majority of my childhood was Vernon Parish. Louisiana isn’t a very large state in comparison to Texas, California, or Alaska but it is very distinct in its own right. It has 5 distinct areas to it. The northern part of the state is predominantly protestant and the southern part is predominantly Roman Catholic. I could do several blogs about the different things in Louisiana but I grew up in the Crossroads. I always feel a special closeness to Acadiana. We would visit Aunt Dolly and Pawpaw who lived in Jefferson Davis Parish. It was about an hour and half drive. The accents also vary in Louisiana according to where you lived the most. My dad’s Cajun accent wasn’t very prominent until he was with his family. People who live in the Greater New Orleans area sound different from people from the northern area of the state.
Every time I look at boots,I am reminded of my heritage both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. I like the idea and find it quite funny. Do you have any fun facts about your heritage that you would like to share?
Here is a link to learn more about the different facets of Louisiana. http://www.louisianatravel.com/louisiana-map
I was driving Adam and I home from our training in Coffs Harbour when I took the turn off for Woolgoolga and noticed the name change to the road we take to get us home. It’s called Solitary Island Way. This gave me an aha moment which I wanted to share with you today.
Today we heard a lot of things at training however I am not really wanting to share all the pearls of wisdom that I heard there because I am still processing everything in my own sort of way. Please bare with me as I muddle through my thoughts to express exactly what my aha moment sprang from. I am always searching inside myself wanting to improve things not only for myself but for those who are in my life. I was just driving when I thought about how sometimes we all feel like we are alone but in actuality we are all connected.
The Solitary Islands are on the eastern coast of Australia. The Coffs Coast which is part of the Mid North Coast of New South Wales is also part of the Solitary Marine Park. You can see these islands dotting up and down the coast of the area where I live. I was thinking to myself today how alone I could feel about my life if I let myself fall into that trap but I have to take a look at the bigger picture. Things are not so black and white. We are only as alone as we make ourselves. If we reach out to others our sense of loneliness diminishes. We just have to watch our attitude because that is a key to impacting on others. If we have a can do attitude we will be able to do whatever we put our mind to. If we get in a rut and are happy to wallow in mediocrity, mediocrity is what we will sow.
I always love going to Muttonbird Island because I always see things in a different perspective. I am very blessed to live so close to Solitary Marine Park. I live in a country for the most part that values its environment. Australia isn’t perfect but I find that I am very blessed to call it home. I can choose to live a solitary life or I can choose to share what abundance I have been given be it a kind word or positive thought to someone I come across.
The Solitary Island Way may seem alone but it is part of a wonderful environment which impacts on every living thing it touches. Even a rock or grain of sand can make a difference to the world that it is in. Take a part of it away and it could impact something or someone else in a negative way.
May you find the blessing of another day and never feel alone. There is someone out there who needs to hear from you. You can be the difference to brighten someone’s day!
Photo Credit for lighthouse Michael Scott taken at Woolgoolga Lookout
Adam and I were on our way down to Canberra for a wedding. The drive from our piece of paradise is probably about 10 hours. I am guessing this because I haven’t actually driven from the Coffs Coast to the Australian Capital territory. We have a friend who lives in the Newcastle area of NSW which is a 2 hour drive from Sydney. The drive from our place to Newcastle was about 4 hours due to road construction. Canberra’s approximately 3 hours southwest of Sydney. We asked him if we could come and see his new place that he moved into. He agreed and right now as I type, the boys are piecing together his computer room.
As you know my husband is blind and his friend Mark, that we are staying with is also blind. I am trying to let them do their own thing. I am trying to stay out of their way and not try to interfere. I am almost wanting to step in but I want them both to have their independence. I have already stepped in once already and am wondering if I am doing the right thing with them but they would call me if they needed help.
It can seem like a slippery slope being married to a blind person when you want them to have their independence. I am not trying to sound condensing and I am afraid I am seeming that way. It isn’t hard to be married to a blind person especially when they have confidence in what they are doing. It’s really cool listening to the two men work together as I type this blog. I actually went to bed leaving them to their business.
It’s been a week now since I had started this blog. I had meant to do a few for our trip to Canberra and back but as best laid plans can be, mine never came to fruition. I did want to finish this one though because as a sighted person it was a privilege to see Adam and Mark work as a team. I often take for granted the sight that I have but to listen to Mark giving Adam directions as to where things were and how he wanted things done was really good. It just goes to show that things can be done properly even without sighted assistance.
When I got up in the morning, Mark was thanking Adam for the work they had done. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help him with getting his main computer set up with sound but I believe he did get it working again with someone else’s help.
The slippery slope of knowing when to step back and let the blind lead the blind isn’t that hard to do if both people have faith in each other. The guys didn’t squabble or belittle each other. They worked as a team which I loved. I want to take a step out of their book and I try to most of the time. They didn’t worry about how long it took to get done but took pride in a job done well as well as properly.
Ever had one of those moments when you just go where do I go from here? Yeah, I am having one of those moments a lot lately. In fact today, I was instructed to just go have a good think about what I want to do. I am really good at that. Thinking, it’s like a natural thing to do especially for me. I do it non stop. In fact at times it can cause insomnia. I can focus on things a bit too much at times that it will actually prevent me from moving forward. I will ponder, wonder, and concentrate on something come up with nothing but it’s still fermenting in the back of my mind until I finally get the light bulb going off. I like that moment the most when I know exactly what I will do but the real challenge can be finding that light bulb moment.
I can fumble around in the dark so to say not as good as my man but figuratively. You would think at 45 I would know exactly what I want to do with my life. I find though even though I might plan something, it won’t go according to plan. I can adapt. I am not afraid of change. I can actually adapt well to change and try to work with it sort of like a willow caught up in the wind bending to whims of the wind but not breaking totally.
I can be a very passionate person. I have lots of varied interests which can take me down many different tracks. I am just trying to find out exactly what I want to do professionally which will reward both my employer and myself.
There are so many things I need to or want to do. I know there are things that need to be done more like praying and meditating. I sort of pray while I am thinking. I have conversations with God a lot. I look for the answers in subtle signs or turns in conversation. For non-believers I know you may not believe but it helps me to do this sort of prayer while soul-searching. I can hear the sceptics going ‘Hogwash’ but it works for me and that is what is most important.
I need to sit down and do SMART goals. I know that would help me a lot. I need to look at the big goal and just break it down further into more manageable short-term goals so that I can get to the big goal. It just getting that big goal sorted out. I feel a bit like Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken. I have two paths I can go down and even if it doesn’t work out the way I think it will, I will still be glad I went on the journey that I took.
I will be soul-searching for a bit but I am sure I will find my focus. I will get encouragement and draw on the strength that I know I can handle whatever may come. Each day brings new challenges which will help make me be me.
I can’t believe I actually did something computer wise for Adam. He is definitely a gadget guru man and always looking at things to help improve the use of technology within the house. He heard about wi-fi extenders and actually was given one by a friend. He had been struggling with trying to figure out how to get it set up. He was told it was pretty simple to do. All he needed to do was use the website but of course, people do have a tendency to exaggerate about how things work. Since Adam loves his independence, (who in the world doesn’t?) I left him to it because he really loves doing things on his own.
Normally he is the one I turn to when I am having problems with my computer or laptop or iPhone but today the tables turned. I usually have no patience for technology. I am definitely a big believer in plug and pray. ( I know it should be plug and play) If it doesn’t work, scream for Adam to come bail me out of trouble is the norm for me. Today though, I actually decided to grab the instruction manual and read it. I know this is the standard procedure to do for sane people but I don’t always do things by the book. Adam couldn’t read it of course unless he used the scanner which I don’t think he thought of doing yet. I was curious about how it was supposed to work. I got the booklet, read it to him and then thought to myself, why not try connecting that extender through my laptop. It had wi-fi and if I couldn’t work it out, Adam would have to call his friend for help because Netgear doesn’t help with second-hand goodies.
Dianna actually got the extender connected on her laptop! We now have an extender for our wi-fi network! I am stoked. I know this isn’t the greatest thing ever but to me, it’s HUMONGOUS! I fixed something for my gadget guru! I didn’t have a fit or cry or scream. I did it calmly and rationally! YAY for me!
I know the majority of my readers live in the northern hemisphere. For the majority of my life, I too lived there. Now that I live in the Southern Hemisphere I get to have seasons opposite of what I grew up with. While you are freezing, I get to enjoy the summer. When you get to enjoy your summer, I get to endure winter which is fair enough.
Now to the title of this blog which is the sounds of summer which I hope will at least get you focused on warm things. When I hear cicadas I know it’s going to be a warm day. Today there are several different types calling. I love the different varieties around where I live. Even in Louisiana I heard them in the summer along with crickets. Another sound of summer would be evening thunderstorms. We haven’t gotten much of those lately but growing up in Louisiana it happened often. There could also be heat lightning. People splashing in their pools are another sound I enjoy listening to.
Today though I hear the cicadas and I relish the sound knowing its summer. I won’t have to worry about the cold creeping back around until June.
I am not that great at making lists but while Adam and I were visiting his sister last December I had been talking about doing a blog about blunders that I have done since I have become a yaussiechick. I know I want to make a top ten list but I don’t think I have done too bad since I have immigrated to Australia. I know in my early days I could be forgiven for my blunders but there are only 3 that I find truly embarrassing.
Growing up in the United States, I had been used to keeping to the right and sitting when driving on the left side of the car. After I had stepped off the plane for good when we lived in Homebush Adam and I would take the train to Burwood to do shopping at the Westfield’s. I was so excited to do a big grocery shop but didn’t have a car so we decided to take a cab back with the groceries. Adam told me where the taxi rank was. We go there and I am looking for a cab. I see lots of passengers but no drivers. I see the cab pull out but there is no driver and I say very astonished to Adam I don’t understand how that taxi is moving with out a driver. There is a passenger but no driver. He explained to me that it was the driver not the passenger. I want to die or be swallowed whole by the Earth because of that mistake. Adam ever the patient when it comes to me, prompts me to look again at the cab rank. I move us to another waiting and we take the cab home while I ponder how silly I can be. I could be excused for still suffering from jet lag but honestly, that is pretty lame!
My second blunder which I am revealing to you happened a few years ago when Adam and I first went to go see Hedonna’s and John’s investment property in Coolangatta. We were very happy to stay at Tondio Terrace because of its close proximity to the beach. John had gone to do something as he was giving us a tour of the area. I turned to Adam and said I wish you could see this. It’s so lovely and isn’t that Brisbane across the bay. He proceeded to explain that no, it wasn’t Brisbane; it was actually Surfers Paradise or the Gold Coast. Again, I wanted the Earth to swallow me whole. How could I have made such a huge mistake? I had been living in Australia for almost 6 years when I did this blunder. I know I hadn’t driven to Brisbane yet but still I guess I should have known better.
The top blunder though that I have made in Australia by far can not be outdone. I have mentioned it previously before in one of my earlier blogs entitled Humorous Double Meanings but it’s a real beauty. I don’t think I have ever been so embarrassed in my life. I will give you a recap just encase you haven’t read it yet. We have to go way back to 2003 when I was very new to Australia. I hadn’t gotten my Australian driver’s licence yet. We travelled everywhere by train. I don’t like crowded beaches in Sydney so we took the Illawarra Line to Thirroul. It was an easy walk from the station to the beach. Adam and I were just walking when he said matter of factly Oh that’s a huge truck I can hear. I shot back, “My fanny that’s not a truck that’s the ocean.” “What did you just say?” I shouted back very loudly, “My FANNY! My bottom, my derrière, my butt! That’s the ocean.” There were little kids walking with us and some teenagers too. Adam whispered to me, “Do you know what you just said?” “I just yelled it out again didn’t I?” I retorted all bluster. He very coolly responded back to my vicious retort very discreetly, “Fanny means this.” And he pointed towards my crotch. “Think about what we call bum bags? We never call them fanny packs like you yanks do!” I am not sure when my regular colouring returned to my face but I can assure you, I have never shouted out that word in Australian public since.
This is my 100th published blog on this site. I hope you enjoyed the revelation. If you are thinking of coming to see Coolangatta, Queensland and are looking for great accommodation that is close to the beach may I suggest you check out: http://www.goldcoastrainbowbay.com/index.html
Have you ever made any blunders as bad as mine???
We have been experiencing some king tides of late. Yesterday was especially a big one. I took the Kodak Sports Video Camera and the playlist below is the following montage of footage that I took. I hope you enjoy what I took!
Do you know how many years it has finally taken me to be comfortable with saying this? I would have to say a good 7. I never really had a white Christmas growing up in Louisiana but I eat white Christmas at Adam’s sister’s house when we go for Christmas celebrations. I am pretty positive she will have a batch ready for us to take back home with us after our next visit which will be this weekend. Just encase you don’t know what White Christmas is, it is rice bubbles, glace cherries, and Copha mixed together sometimes with nuts if you like for texture. I know I am missing some other ingredients. It’s a lovely sweet treat. Oh Rice Bubbles is called Rice Krispies in the States because this cereal goes by other names. I never had this treat until I came to Australia.
Some people may think that what I am saying is a sacrilege. I know a majority of my readers are in the Northern Hemisphere and relish having a cold Christmas. Australia has a tendency to follow British tradition with a hot baked dinner but sometimes they do their own stuff. I love listening to Australian Christmas carols. I remember fondly my very first Christmas in Canberra with Adam’s family. I was so excited to be able to go swimming in the pool. I could never do that in the states it was too bloody cold. The pool wasn’t exactly warm but I was game to do it. It also helped I was tipsy too and determined to say I was in the pool on Christmas Day. Adam’s Dad got a great laugh when I came back in shivering and tipsy but ever so pleased with my dalliance in the pool. Adam refused after he put his toe in. He stood outside with me and listened to me while I splashed around. I didn’t stay in very long but I did boast to my sisters’ when I rang them on their Christmas day that I did swim on Christmas day.
This Christmas will be a quiet one. We are having our good friends the Jary’s come over for Christmas lunch. We’ll probably head down to the beach for the dogs to run on Mullaway beach. It’s suppose to be a very lovely day. It will be nice to be home for Christmas for a change. I have only had 3 Christmases in my own home since I moved to Australia. I am not complaining but there is just something special about being in your own house.
I have never been one to really like cold weather. I know I was born in Alaska but we moved when I was 6 weeks old. I was then a southern raised lass. First two years were in San Antonio, Texas and then we moved to Leesville, Louisiana which I gladly call my hometown. The majority of my life was in the South. Now I can really claim to be a Southern because I live in Australia which is in the Southern Hemisphere. All my seasons are opposite to what I was raised with and I can drive north to visit Adam’s sister but be reminded of Southwestern Louisiana where my dad grew up and we visited as a child as I pass the sugar cane fields heading up past Grafton. I could almost imagine myself near New Iberia if it wasn’t for the dang mountains covered in Eucalyptus trees in the background. It’s as if I was graced with everything I ever dreamed of since I discovered this great Southern Land which gave birth to my dream man and took me in with such love and compassion.
So no, I am not dreaming of a White Christmas that Bing Crosby sang about but I am dreaming of a White Christmas made with love for me and my darling by his beautiful youngest sister and her darling boy Jack. May you have a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
I leave you with this lovely Australian Christmas Carol I found on youtube!
I am not exactly the best party planner around but I do like to be in good company with family and friends around the world. I was thinking to myself about New Year’s 99 and how the Today Show in the states showed the year 2000 coming into the world across the time zones. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic way to have a party for peace! I certainly think so! If we could have parties for New Year’s Eve, wouldn’t it be fun to have it for Peace.
This is my invitation to the world to bring in Peace one time zone at a time. We can all participate and play our favourite artists. I would like to have my family and friends around the world connect with me via Skype for some quality one on one time. If you don’t like skype, just put out positive vibes on 31/12/2013. We can bring about a change for peace one moment at time. We can savour being in good company and promoting peace together.
I will leave my Skype open all day on 31/12/2013 until it is 1/01/2014 in every part of the world encase you would like to join my peace party on-line! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know that you would like to participate in my party for peace for my Skype id!
Party on Garth! Party on Wayne! Party on for Peace!
Here are a few of my favourite peace party blogs: