Category Archives: Travel

The trip for the first week of 2017


Adam and I decided to go up to Brisbane to surprise our matron of honour for her 60th birthday which is going to be celebrated on January 3. We drove up the day before and instead of taking the Pacific Hwy we went the inland way which took us through Casino, Kyogle and into the scenic drive area of Queensland. It was only an additional 10 minutes to our trip. We stopped in Grafton to buy another name tag for Mitch and it was then that we decided to go the inland way instead of the usual route on the Pacific Highway.

It was interesting how the trip turned out. It was a hot, sunny day. It was nice having our dogs in the back of the Jeep. We tied Mitch down because he has become arthritic and tries to jump out before we have the back door open. Adam noted I seemed much more light hearted with the two dogs as travel companions. They always love looking out the windows and Grady snuffles at the window trying to smell the new areas we travel through. It reminds me of my mom telling stories about Judy wanting them to roll down the window on long road trips they would do as we travelled places.

I notice all the strange little signs and read them aloud so Adam can also hear what I am seeing. There was a Pringles Way which made me think of my brother Kevin’s partner, Lisa because she loves Pringles as well as a Grady creek(our youngest dog is Grady). The name of Summerland Way changed to Mt Lindsay Way when we reached Queensland making me think of my friend Lindsey whom I met through World of Warcraft.

My dad always asked us girls to read the signs for him as we would drive to different places because he was blind in his left eye from a childhood accident which I always say prepared me to be Adam’s wife in a round about way. He doesn’t mind me reading out all the things I see because he is blind since birth. My first husband didn’t appreciate me rattling off the signs like I always do. It is funny how things just seem to work out.

On the way home, I am sure we will go back the Pacific Highway because it will be way less winding. There will be lots of construction but that is to be expected. Adam and I have had discussions about US roads and Australia roads. I still find it remarkable that Australia hasn’t a big interstate system like the United States but then again, Australia is still a young country and doesn’t have the population that the US has. Its infrastructure isn’t as established as the USA in many ways. The majority of the population is pretty much along the coastline of Australia where the USA the population is spread out across the expanse of the country which is why I assume the US government built the interstates across the country like it has.

I enjoy being the driver and eyes in our relationship but in many ways Adam can help me see things better in his own way. I often wish that he could see all the beauty that I take for granted but he seems to enjoy the ooh’s and Aah’s which escape me or me saying wow look at that! While driving on the Summerland Way in the summer, I was amazed by this one particular mountain. You could tell it was once a volcano. I was moved inside. It’s the only way I can describe this and took pictures.

You can see how ancient and beautiful Australia is because of how the mountains are. You can be moved by the majestic panorama of the undulating mountains that have trees on them and escarpments. As we drove the winding road I noticed there had been a bushfire on a mountain but I couldn’t pull over. I continued driving and noticed how the road revealed the back of the mountain which had a sheared back with lava tubes or caves on the cliff face. It was amazing but there was no place for me to pull off to take that picture. I have it in my mind though still marvelling at the beauty of it.

3 photos of the scenery close to the border between NSW and Queensland

On my first visit to Australia, I recall Adam saying that he wished he had someone who could travel with him across his native country and I thought to myself “I could be that someone” but I didn’t say a word I just thought it to myself. I now have the chance to do it and perhaps this year we might get to enjoy more road trips and exploration of his native land which I am blessed to call my home as well.

There is something about Australia that calls to me. The more I learn about it the more I know I am where I am suppose to be sharing my experiences with the one I am supposed to be with.

I want to share this journey and I am so glad to do so. Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment.

Advertisements

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

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.

DSC00226

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


DSC00052

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.

DSC00076

3 Galahs on Woolgoolga’s Main Beach.

DSC00079

A flock of seagulls on Woolgoolga Main Beach

DSC00086

A Noisy Miner perched on Grevilla near our front deck.

DSC00092

Noisy Miner enjoying our Grevilla.

DSC00085

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

DSC00090

A single Kookaburra

DSC00093

Rosella perched on our clothes line (Hills Hoist).

DSC00095

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

DSC00099

Close up of Kookaburra from walk to Mullaway Beach.

DSC00104

A Willy wag tail on Ocean View Headland

DSC00121

Two Pelicans at Coffs Harbour’s Harbour today.

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.

Better Laid Plans


Maybe you have been reading my thoughts for a while and maybe this is new to you. I always try to keep things light and breezy. I know I don’t like being the one who is dark and gloomy. Who likes being around somebody who is all doom and gloom? Realistically it’s not possible to be little miss sunshine either but I do try to stay positive.

My husband and I traveled to America for my brother’s Memorial and decided to turn the trip into a month-long vacation. We were hoping to come back on happier terms. You have to make the best of a situation however you come across it. I think that is a no brainer. We wanted to do this trip next year. We had wanted to see all my siblings individually. We are doing this now; it’s just been expedited. I had wanted to be reunited with my brother, Kevin, to hug him and get to know his lovely wife, Lisa, and his step-daughter Sandy. I did get to see Kevin when we face-timed. Nothing though can compare to actually being in the same room with the one you love. I do take solace that I had got to see him even if it was through a video link because I hadn’t seen his face for over 20 years.  We laughed and looked forward to seeing each other. Every thing though changed for us all as it is apt to do.

We are getting to go places that we had never been to before. Adam and I have never been to West Virginia. We have gotten some really great quality time with Lisa and Sandy. I know Sunday the 15th is going to be a very hard day for Lisa and myself. We have been pretty much inseparable since I have hugged her on the 21st of May. We felt as if we had known each other very well even though it had been long talks on the phone or typing on Facebook.  I am dreading the 15th pretty much. We are going to have to part sometime. I know we will stay in contact because Kevin got us together. I feel very strongly about this.

I asked Lisa to join me on a road trip to see my brother Chuck in Philadelphia and my sisters Judy and Margaret in Florida. I would love to take her to see my other sisters in Nevada and California but Lisa has things she has to take care of back in West Virginia. We fly back to Australia on June 24th. The 25th won’t happen for Adam and myself because we will be flying across the international date line. We are used to losing and gaining days when we fly back and forth to the USA. Lisa and I had a great time traveling together down the eastern seaboard of the USA. I had never driven that much in the United States. We even took a trip to NYC with Chuck. Chuck was born in Brooklyn and I had traveled to NYC in 1996 with my mom, my sister Judy, and niece Cassie. Sandy, Adam, and Lisa were the “virgins” in NYC.

We started off in West Virginia and drove to Philadelphia. After Philadelphia we drove to Georgia so Sandy could stay with her cousin Mary. We then continued down to the panhandle of Florida to the city of Crestview. It’s sort of funny but I lived in the Fort Walton Beach area 20 years ago. It was interesting seeing all the changes and growth in the area. I looked forward to showing Adam the places I used to work and play at. We played in the Gulf of Mexico for a little bit. Today we are going to get our hair cut.

On the 15th we fly out to Las Vegas and Lisa returns back to West Virginia. I can’t wait for her to get her passport so I can show her our little piece of paradise. I know we are going to have a blast like we have had here. She has things though that she needs to sort out first before her trip to see us. I do know we are going to see each other again which is making me look forward to the reunion we will have. I know another post will be happening when that happens. After Las Vegas, we are heading to Los Angeles and then it’s back across the Pacific Ocean to Australia for us.

Yes, I know I had better laid plans in my head for our trip in 2015. I meant to take more time to visit friends as well as family but sometimes life happens and you have to make do with that you can. I know things didn’t turn out the way I had expected or desired. It’s not a perfect world. I had to make the most of what I have even with the sad ugly bits. I can build on what I have to make things better even if it’s just a little change.

If I can make someone smile or lighten the load even a little bit than I know I have done something good.

Memorial Day and Squirrels


It’s Memorial Day here in Huntington, West Virginia. Adam and I arrived in the USA on 21 May to attend a memorial for my brother, Kevin which was on 24 May 2014. It was a very hard day for all of us who knew him. This Memorial Day is layered for us with sweet and bittersweet memories.

Lisa, Kevin’s wife, Sandy, his step-daughter, Piper, their faithful dog, Adam and I went to Ritter Park to enjoy the weather as well as lunch that we picked up from Arby’s. We watched the things going on around us. I got a thrill seeing a squirrel. I even recorded a video of a squirrel munching on a curly fry. I wanted to share this with Australians or anyone else who never got to see a squirrel munch on  a curly fry. It seems like it’s been over 5 years since I saw a squirrel and to see one eating a fry was just really special to me.

It was great to see families out enjoying the day. Memorial Day in the USA is a day when the military is remembered for their service to the USA during war and peace time. It is a lot like Anzac Day for Australians. There are parades around the nation. I got to listen to Lisa and Sandy reminisce and I even reminisced about Kevin too. I got to walk where his feet trod.

I hadn’t seen Kevin in over 20 years. We had tried to tee up meeting together when I would return stateside but something always happened and our best laid plans went down the gurgler. I regret not being able to see him again in person. The pain of my loss is very raw. It is easier though being with his family.  It was good being together with my siblings even though it was a sad occasion.  My brother Chuck did a wonderful eulogy for Kevin. I wanted to cheer and clap. My sister Judy also stood up and spoke some touching words about Kevin. I just couldn’t manage it at the moment. I wish I could write more about him. Words though just can’t seem to do justice for the way I feel about Kevin. It’s something I find hard to express. I think my poem Hero was the best I could do. I guess I could have stood up and read that but in that moment I just didn’t have the strength to do so.

This Memorial Day for me was filled with laughter. We didn’t cry today. I know we will still have tears. It’s part of the grieving process. I will always miss my brother. I will always remember this Memorial Day because for me and I hope for Lisa and Sandy, this Memorial Day seemed to have many different meanings. I will never forget this Memorial Day because it was a treasure to be with the ones Kevin loved.