Monthly Archives: March 2014

Under Construction


I have been driving back and forth from my piece of paradise to my newest place of employment which is at Park Beach. I am not going to go into details on this blog about my newest job. I wanted to share some humor about driving and road construction.

The Pacific Highway is undergoing an upgraded between Sapphire and Woolgoolga. It will save travelers eight minutes when it is finally completed. The Woolgoolga bypass had been completed right before Christmas 2013. They are about to do another switch back on Monday somewhere on the stretch of highway between Sapphire and Moonie Beach or Emerald Beach so I could probably write details about that as well because they are expecting delays. Thank goodness I don’t have to go to work Monday when it actually happens.

I have heard some people complaining about the speed that the construction is undertaking but I just laugh at them in my head because I can recall living in Louisiana as a child and our parish priest was talking about the construction of 4 lanes between Leesville and Alexandria. The actual year it got completed was 2006 I believe. The priest was talking about this in 1976 or even earlier. When Adam and I moved to the northern beaches of the Coffs Coast it was announced that they were going to do the upgrade in 2010. It is projected to finish in 2014. I believe they will do it on time but even if they don’t I think they will bet the Louisiana project hands down.

My enjoyment of travelling or driving isn’t hampered that much due to this construction. Many trees have been cut down. There are some really spectacular views that I have noticed especially when heading from Woolgoolga to Moonie Beach. I never noticed the mountains until the construction was taking place. I know it can be a bit bottle necked after Moonie Beach going into Coffs Harbour but when it’s finished I think the flow will be much smoother.

During my morning drive an ambulance was going south on the Pacific Highway. I was pulling to the left as you do in Australia when the person behind me tried to pass until they realized why I was pulling over. They moved over to the side as well. I had always wondered if I would have gone to the right instead of the left. I might have at one time when I first moved to Australia but it’s now second nature for me to keep to the left.

I wonder if they will bypass Coffs Harbour one day; however, even if they do, I don’t think it will stop the tourists from coming to the Coffs Coast. It’s a really wonderful place to visit. They might even get the sea change bug and decide to stay like we did. I wouldn’t blame them but I got my piece of paradise staked. Visitors are welcome but this yaussiechick is here to stay even if there is road construction.

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Boots and Heritage


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.Map of LA Parishes

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

http://www.thecajuns.com/parishes.htm

Solitary Island Way


View of the Solitary Islands from Muttonbird Island

View of the Solitary Islands from Muttonbird Island

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!

Be the rainbow and light the way to a better day!

Be the rainbow and light the way to a better day!

Photo Credit for lighthouse Michael Scott taken at Woolgoolga Lookout

The Blind Leading The Blind


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.