Shopping list/ Wish list


Today I went shopping at Coles in Moonee Beach because we were running out of things to eat. Adam stayed home and while I enjoyed shopping I noticed there were some things that I can’t get here in Australia. They do stock Uncle Ben’s rice mixes but what I am desiring is Rice a Roni specifically the Fried Rice. I even checked on http://www.usafoods.com.au/ but they are out of stock. I asked them to let me know when they have it back in.

I do miss Peter Pan Peanut Butter and only saw it on sale once at Woolworths. At one time the stores actually stocked Cherry Coke. It didn’t stay here long though. I can get it online or maybe even at a speciality lolly shop when I look for it. I have really cut down on my intake of soda though. My first Thanksgiving in Australia, I asked if they had French’s Fried Onions in a can. The stock person looked at me like I was insane.

Another thing that I used to love to get was sloppy joes but here in Australia it is a sweatshirt not a sandwich. I guess I will have to add that to my wish list of American food items. I guess I am going to be making a wish list of things to get from USA Foods. They normally carry long life dry goods. They don’t sell tin biscuits or any dairy items.

When I grew up pudding was not a cake like dish with a sauce, it was more like a custard. Jello is known as jelly here in Australia. Overall, I don’t mind living in Australia. I actually love it but I do miss some of the comfort foods I had from growing up. I still prefer American hot dogs over Australian. The bacon is different but I can get it to get crispy like I am used to.

I am not complaining about living in Australia with the food but you can take the girl out of America but her taste buds still have a hankering for things she grew up with. I will always carry the jingles I grew up with in my head even sharing them with others freely.

“Rice a Roni – The San Fransician Treat”

Feeling Frothy?


Frothy Coffee for the Morning Win!

Frothy Coffee for the Morning Win!

 

Yesterday Adam and I did the back lawn. I like to do yard work either earlier in the day or later in the afternoon especially in the hot months in Australia which is opposite of the northern hemisphere. Next month will be one of the hottest which happens to be Adam’s birth month. We are planning a trip to Hervey Bay Queensland for about 6 days. I will be driving us so I suspect another blog will come forth from this trip. I am digressing here but hang on, I will get back to topic.

I made an observation about us as we played in the surf. I like to make muggacinos. The best part of the cappuccino for me is the frothy milk. I enjoy using the spoon after I drink the milky coffee with lots of chocolate sprinkled on top to collect the dregs of froth which I cherish. As Adam and I cooled off in the surf of Safety Beach, I noticed how it resembled the froth that I so love to have. I was tickled with that image thinking that I was playing in frothy sea water that was cool and invigorating to me.

first glimpse of Safety Beach

The water was supposedly 25 C (77 F) but it felt more like 22 to me. It didn’t matter because we were so freaking hot. I used to get freaked out with the tide especially if the waves seemed to be tossers. When I say tossers, I am meaning that they look like they are full of sand. We tried body surfing but the surf wasn’t great. It just didn’t have the pull that it should have had. Not that I am an expert body surfer, I can barely swim but I am getting more confident as the years go on. If I can stand up waist deep and not freak out when a 3 ft wave is baring down on me it’s a great improvement. I used to be so scared. I am relishing how brave I am feeling now in the surf. Adam has even noticed it. He was surprised that I had gone out again.

When we were sitting on the edge of the water, I was looking out and saw a fish surfing the wave before it crashed. I was tickled to be sitting on the beach with the froth surrounding us both. The night before, I saw a shooting star. I was thinking to myself, how truly blessed I am. I not only get to have frothy coffee whenever I desire, I get to play in the frothy sea, and watch beauty around me.

Feeling frothy? Indeed I am and enjoying every moment! Please share your own frothy moment!Darkum Creek empties into the ocean

Second Anniversary!


Wow! I just happened to go onto my blog today and discovered it’s my second anniversary! Last year I didn’t write as much. There has been much going on for me emotionally. I have made huge messes but over all, I am pretty content again. I have learned a lot about myself in the silence of not blogging. Editing thoughts and trying to decide what is truly worthy of sharing with the whole internet has been my undoing in some ways but I do think there are somethings that are better left to only certain people. This is a learning process for me and I am sure many other people who choose to blog.

I was going to do a blog about Peach Bundaberg soda and Peach Nehi because of course one is Australian and the other is American. What better to do a blog on by a yaussiechick? I couldn’t think of anything else because most people who are fans of MASH know that Radar O’Reilly, loved Grape Nehi. He couldn’t get enough of it. I use to be that way until I had tried a Peach Nehi. I always loved peaches and to have it as a soda was my idea of heaven in a bottle. In Australia, it’s not so easy to get your hands on a Nehi but it is just as nice to grab a soda by Bundaberg. Bundaberg brews some fine rum but they also make terrific soda. I am always discovering new combinations. I tried the Peach Bundaberg soda. I thought it was heaven in a bottle. They do many fine flavours such as Passionfruit, Pineapple and Coconut, Lime but I must say I do love the peach one.

If you are traveling in Australia and are wanting something peachy to drink, I suggest a Peach Bundaburg soda and if you are traveling in the USA and desire something peachy, grab a Nehi Peach if you can find it. This flavor is limited but so worth the having if you are lucky enough to put your hands on it.

Here’s a link to the American Nehi: http://homersoda.com/soda/nehi-peach-only-available-for-private-parties/

The link to Peachee Bundaberg: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bundaberg-Peachee/27556445599

Roos About


Spring is in the air down under! A couple of weeks ago this is what we saw. The kangaroos are really enjoying the sun and lush grass. We were heading back from Cabins Beach when I saw these three while crossing Mullaway Drive.

The grass looks yummy to them!

The grass looks yummy to them!

Baby joey peeking out for us!

Baby joey peeking out for us!

I had to share this. They looked so content. I am glad my sony has a great zoom! The roos are certainly about in Mullaway putting on a show!

Rotten But Not Forgotten


This title pretty much sums up the way I am starting to view the process of death. I see patterns to things. I know there are patterns to the weather as well as cycles in life. I wonder if perhaps there are cycles in the universe too.
In science there is a theory about energy which is termed the conservation of energy. There is also the theory of relativity which Einstein formulated an equation that is E=MC2.
There seems to be a process that everything goes through. It’s almost like a huge recycling cycle where nothing is totally destroyed instead it gets transformed into something else. A couple of weeks ago while Adam, Lisa and I were walking at Dorrigo National Park we passed a sign which said Rotten but Not Forgotten. It stuck with me. It sort of confirmed what I had thought about in my mind.
Since Lisa’s arrival with us, I have been doing a lot more exploring and discussing things with her. I don’t go mountain goat climbing with Adam on the edges of the headlands on the beaches. I had done this before with Adam on the rocks. It’s kinda of different with Adam though because he can’t see where we are heading. I am the eyes of the operation which isn’t a bad thing. It’s nice having another pair of eyes around though. I hadn’t realized how much I am enjoying having her around.
I had often thought of parts of the beach as a seashell graveyard where there are lots of broken rocks and shells being transformed into bits of sand due to the wind, sun, rain, and bombardment on rocks.

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seashell graveyard

Even when you walk in a forest or rainforest, you can see the process of change in the ecosystem. Everything is interdependent on something else. Although the tree may not think it is dependent on the soil it is because it has nutrients which are provided through other things such as insects and bacteria. When something dies, it is actually providing food or something relevant to its own environment.

rainforest

rainforest

With humans though, it seems like we are independent to others yet we are still interconnected via relationships. Even though someone we know dies, they still live on with us when we remember them. We glen things from our relationships; they transform us whether we like it or not. It may seem that part of us dies when we lose someone close to us. I am starting to think maybe I am not dying but being transformed into someone else. Changes take place whether we want them or not. It’s part of life. It’s how we deal with the changes that can form us into who we are as well as the choices that we make on our journey of life that make us. We can choose to take the rotten things that happen in our lives to help or hurt those in our circles. I hope to help all I can.
What do you think?

Birds Around The Hood


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eastern rosella sitting on a palm in our neighbour’s backyard.

Adam and I have been showing Lisa around the neighbourhood. We love the birds. I know this is a short blog but I wanted to show off some of the shots I took. I know we’ll see much more as we take her around the places that we love. I must admit I do like showing off Australia so I thought I would also show you some of the birds I’ve captured with my trusty Sony camera I got from Fry’s in Burbank, California.

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3 Galahs on Woolgoolga’s Main Beach.

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A flock of seagulls on Woolgoolga Main Beach

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A Noisy Miner perched on Grevilla near our front deck.

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Noisy Miner enjoying our Grevilla.

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Two kookaburras on powerlines that I saw the day I took the shot of the noisy miner.

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A single Kookaburra

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Rosella perched on our clothes line (Hills Hoist).

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A kookaburra we saw on our walk from Mullaway Beach back home.

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Close up of Kookaburra from walk to Mullaway Beach.

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A Willy wag tail on Ocean View Headland

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Two Pelicans at Coffs Harbour’s Harbour today.

The Bridge


view of Sydney Harbour Bridge cropped

view of Sydney Harbour Bridge cropped

I’ve done a lot of study over the years about Catholicism and some soul searching. One of the key principles that I have grown to love is the idea that Jesus came as a bridge to breach the gap between God and man that occurred when original sin corrupted the world.

What if we are also sent to be a bridge to others when there is a gap between each other based on the idea that God sent Jesus to be a bridge for us? It is a beautiful concept that I have seen in action throughout my life. Most recently it has been through the death of my brother Kevin.

Kevin was the last child born from the marriage of Alice Albano and Edward Koval. His parents divorced and Alice married my father, Clement Miller. To the older 4 siblings he was their baby brother but to me and my two older sisters, Judy and Margaret, he was our big brother. Our family dynamic wasn’t the best. The older Koval children were pretty much out of the house when I was born. Only Roberta and Kevin were the ones that I got to know before they moved out.

I had a pretty special connection with Kevin. I guess it is due to the fact that when we moved to Leesville, we roomed together until he moved out. I know I have written about how jealous I would get over his girlfriends until my mom sat me down explaining the fact that I couldn’t marry him because he was my brother. If I really loved him, I would have to let him go since he would have to do the same with me some day.

The years went by and he married Lori. I was the flower girl at the wedding. I was happy for them but sort of jealous. I know how silly that might sound but I thought I would never find anyone as charming or special as Kevin to call my own. More years went by. We drifted apart as we were bound to do. We all have our journeys to make. I tried to stay in contact. Some years were good and others weren’t the best when it came to keeping the connection alive. Kevin’s marriage to Lori failed. I didn’t even realize it had happened until my mother informed me. I was married too and my own marriage failed. Kevin felt broken I am pretty sure because I knew how much he loved Lori. I ended my own marriage but I was not broken due to it. I just knew I couldn’t continue living a lie or existing in a marriage that didn’t produce anything nourishing to myself.

To my great surprise I found my soul mate when I least expected to do it. I contacted my sister, Aggie, to let her know about something. I found out that my brother Kevin was staying with her due to an injury to his leg. Our connection was ignited again for a little while. I tried emailing him or staying in contact through MySpace but that sort of dwindled out too. I know he was quite excited about meeting someone online. I tried teeing up a time to meet up when I went over for my sister Judy’s 40th birthday but it never came through. Years went by again. In 2012 I let family know that I was returning again for a visit. A mini-family reunion ended up happening that June but one important person wasn’t there. I tried messaging him through an email but no response. I believe it was my nephew Dan who finally got a hold of him so we spoke on the phone. It was nice but not as good as actually holding him. It was through this phone call that I connected with his love, Lisa. I vowed to myself never to let go again of my brother.

In all the years we were apart, I always dreamed of hugging him tight. Hearing his voice on the phone was great but nothing can compare to actually being in the presence of the one you love. I always thought that I would get to hold him again but it wasn’t meant to be. May 24th our family got together again just as it did in 2012. The one thing that I always wanted finally came true. We were all together but Kevin was in an urn. I got to finally meet Lisa but it was a bittersweet moment. All the hours of talking were great. The most important person in our lives was gone. We all loved him and I know he loved us too.

The bridge in my family is gone but not forgotten. He gave us Lisa and Sandy. He wanted us to be there for each other. In some ways it is working but in other ways it is a massive fail. Lisa could have easily not told us about Kevin’s illness and passing. She did the best that she could. In her own way Lisa is a bridge to me and vice versa.

In some ways my own mother was a bridge to my father’s sisters when he was sick and dying. I know he had asked my mom not to let them know but she convinced him otherwise. My father’s death in some ways mended some wrongs that occurred between my mother and his sisters. I am not sure why death holds such power over us. If anything I am learning that life is precious. We never know when our last day might be so we had better make the most out of what we have. We need to cherish each other.

I am going to take the time and try to be a bridge to others like the great examples I have been given before. Have you ever been a bridge for others?

Cling To Me


You have no strength.

Everything has got you down

and in the end you can’t think of how you are going to make it round.

Do me a favor if you please

And sweet darling just cling to me

cause one day and it might be soon

I’ll be the one to cling to you.

Feels like this rain will never end

Too much pain to deal with 

But sweet darling just believe 

that in the end you can cling to me

cause one day and it might be soon

I’ll be the one to cling to you.

You may feel as if you have no hope

and you are at the end of your rope

there’s nothing else you can do to cope

But I beg you to just cling to me

cause one day and it might be soon

I’ll be the one to cling to you.

 

For those who are dealing with loss and feel there is no hope don’t give up. Hold on and know in the end what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Lisa this is for you!

Returning


After a month and three days, Adam and I are returning to Australia. At first I thought the days were dragging. Now it seems like we were gone hardly at all. It will be nice to be at our own home.
I slept for what seemed five hours. Our flight from LAX to Sydney was almost 15 hours. I am typing this blog on flight mode. It isn’t so bad either. I suspect my finger or thumb might get tired. There has been turbulence but it goes along with the dizziness I’ve been experiencing on & off because of the trunk falling on my temple.
We are flying Virgin Australia. The seats are not as comfy as what we’ve had on Qantas. It isn’t a full flight either.
We got thorough TSA pretty painlessly. It was really smooth considering we didn’t take our laptops with us. We checked them in our baggage.
I wasn’t very happy leaving the USA but I know I will return again. It is good to know I have two countries to return to on either side of the Pacific Ocean.

Parting Ways


 

Adam and I parted from Lisa yesterday. We knew it was going to happen at some point since she had things she needed to sort out before she comes out to visit us. It wasn’t an easy day for me and  I am pretty sure it was the same for Lisa. She was flying with Delta while Adam and I flew with United. It was pretty cool that her gate was right next to ours. She almost missed her flight to Atlanta so we didn’t get to hug. I suspect that was a good thing because if we had, I think I wouldn’t have let go.

Our two weeks together were pretty great. We were almost glued at the hip. I have never experienced this sort of connection with someone outside my family with the exception of Adam, even with him it took a little time because our friendship blossomed over time. We had conversed for many hours via the phone or ICQ. With Lisa though, it was different. Sometimes it’s hard to put this into words.

I went to bed on the 14th feeling very melancholy. I had been fighting off tears and finding it very hard to sleep because I knew what the 15th was going to bring. I always hate leaving family. Margaret and Judy I grew up with. It hurt to leave them too. I started crying as we pulled away from their place and headed out towards VPS. I wanted to be brave for Lisa. I didn’t want to break down and cry in front of her because she’s hurting too. She has lots of things to sort through. I am thankful though that we had two magical weeks together. We drove all the way from Huntington, West Virginia to Philadelphia, PA. We then drove from Philly to Crestview, Florida with a drop off in Augusta, Georgia for Sandy. I had always wanted to do a road trip and Lisa was great company as well as driver. I will never forget the fun we had and a few scares too with crazy drivers.

Lisa and I in the Altima

Lisa and I in the Altima

I am writing this on the 16th of June in Las Vegas at my eldest sister’s house. I know we will enjoy our 5 days here and then fly to Los Angeles for 4 days before we fly back to Australia. Yesterday was hard but aren’t we always parting ways in one shape or another? In this journey of life, I am beginning to realize that I am always parting ways with others. Sometimes the connections are very short but the ones with the most meanings are outstanding. They really impact you in your life. I can only speak about my own realizations. I firmly believe that things don’t happen without a reason. God sends us blessings in mysterious ways even when we are parting ways. God is love and love lasts forever.

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