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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.

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

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.

Dreaming Of A White Christmas……..NOT!


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.
White Christmas

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!

Pity Factor Makes Me Cringe


I just finished reading a blog that was reblogged by a good friend of mine. I was supposed to be moved at the beauty behind the blog but to me it read like a cliché. It had the feel of a chain letter to it. I guess it’s the cynic in me that is winning instead of the optimistic, cheery feel good lady.

Maybe it was the fact that it featured a blind boy in it sitting on a step with a hat and a sign stating the obvious “I am blind, please help”.  A kind stranger stops puts a few coins in the hat and changes the sign. After this kind stranger leaves, the hat begins to fill up with change. The stranger returns later in the afternoon. The boy recognizes the stranger’s footsteps and asks what the stranger wrote to find out that he had written  “Today is a beautiful day but I can not see it.”

The cynic in me is screaming: firstly most blind people who I know don’t go begging. They might be buskers but they don’t beg. Most blind beggars aren’t really blind. True blind people want to be paid for their talent not because they can’t see. Secondly, why would the boy let this person take his sign without querying about what the stranger was doing. I can’t suspend my disbelief that this boy would recognize the strangers footsteps. Contrary to the misconception that blind people’s hearing are acutely better than sighted people, it is not true. Just think about all the people you are introduced to and you can see their face but you may not recall their name. It’s exactly like that for a blind person who hears things because they might be introduced to people but if they have only spoken to them a few times and a person comes up and say hello remember me? Do you honestly think they are going to respond oh yes you are Dick. No, I don’t think so!

I get so tired and sick of people taking pity on people with disabilities. I even get angry with Agencies for the disabled that are trying to target the able-bodied to feel pity for the other people who are disabled because they want money. Instead of showing how funding the agency helps the person with disability, they try to play the pity card which is usually an utter failure to me because it just gets my ire up. The recent campaign that Guide Dogs NSW paid for didn’t make any sense to me, but they were trying to use the pity card to the sighted people. I can think  of a few different ways they could show how they help but showing a man with his guide dog walking down the street after a guy gets on the bus just doesn’t cut it with me. I even showed the advert to my sister in the states and she couldn’t get it.

People who are blind want to be treated equally just like people who are deaf, or confined to a wheelchair. People who are disabled who have something that isn’t so apparent want to be treated equally too. We all desire to be valued not pitied. People who have a disability are just as capable as any able-bodied person. They have to do things different ways and can even teach able-bodied persons valuable lessons if they are willing to be open to learning a different way.

Maybe I am too sensitive to the blind because I have good friends and loved ones who are blind. I just wish we could think outside the box at times when we are trying to give a moral story or trying to open our eyes to injustices in the world. I know that was the true meaning of the story that was reblogged but it really got me fired up and not in the best ways.

 

Whale Of A Time


It’s been a long time since I have sat down to write a blog about anything actually. I am still looking for work but have gone back into a World of Warcraft phase enjoying the horde side with a couple of friends. Last night though, as I was looking for something to watch on the tele, I came across the last 15 minutes of the Australian version of 60 Minutes on Channel 9 NBN. It was showing a piece on Humpback Whales in Hervey Bay, Queensland.

I want to know why everything in my life seems to lead to certain moments. I know I am sounding like a cliche but I can’t help it. When I was in the fifth grade at Vernon Elementary my teacher was Miss Mc Coy. She instilled in me a love for the humpback whale, actually for all whales. She used to play records of them at times. I never imagined that I would ever get to see them. Flash forward about 33 years and I am living in Australia with the love of my life who can’t see the beauty of the majestic whales as they migrate up and down the eastern coast of Australia but he gets to hear my ooo’s and ah’s. This year we haven’t much luck spotting them but the funny thing is, we had been thinking about buying a house or holiday place up at Hervey Bay, Queensland but decided it was too far north. Now I heard that the humpback whales choose that lovely place for a respite on their pilgrimage. I had an aha moment.  I cried after I saw that piece because I knew that I was where I was suppose to be and the timing for me was right in every aspect.

My sister Margaret, came to see me in 2007 and we went on a whale watching tour right outside Manly heads. It was a great day. We saw quite a few whales. I think she really enjoyed the time and the Channel 7 helicopter even filmed the whales we saw. When we got back home, we bragged to Adam that 7 news featured our whales.  I often wish I could just sit on the headlands and watch the whales procession up and down the coast. I can do that now because I live in a terrific area where if I am fortunate enough, I can sit on the headland and watch. Adam can listen to me cooing or hear the waves crashing or even listen to the birds while he keeps me company.

I know sometimes life doesn’t make any sense. There is a lot of horror out there but I am very fortunate. I know this is a recurring theme in my blog. I know I am blessed. I always find myself in the right spot at the right time. I make connections to things from my past. I look forward to making new connections especially when it comes time to the whales migrations. To think they were on the brink of extinction less than 50 years ago but they are coming back.

Thank you Miss Mc Coy for being such a great teacher. Thank you for opening my eyes to a whale of a time! I will leave you with something I found on youtube. The gentleman on the video was featured in the piece I saw last night.

Skywalk at Dorrigo National Park


I know it’s been a long while since I have actually sat down to do a blog for Thoughts of yaussiechick. I have been working pretty much none stop for 6 weeks which was awesome. The place I am temping at now has not wanted me since Monday. I am not sure when I will be in next but at least I did get a chance to take Adam and myself up to Dorrigo National Park last Thursday. I am finally feeling like sharing again. I always want to share but after not working for ten years and then going back to work for 6 weeks I didn’t really feel like being at the keyboard. Now that I have the time to do it, I am looking forward to showing you a couple of clips that I took at the Skywalk at the Discovery Centre at Dorrigo National Park. Adam and I also did an audio blog but I am not sure how interesting it would be for you guys. It is almost 47 minutes long. I did take quite a few pictures on the little walk that we did.

At the end of the Skywalk, there is a little pedestal for you to place your camera on so that you can take pictures on yourself with a timer. The camera that I had didn’t have a timer so I choose to do a tiny video.

I followed this up by trying to take a picture of the view of the ocean from the Skywalk platform but forgot to switch the mode on the camera so you get to see a glimpse of it as video.

It’s winter now in our little piece of paradise. It’s cooler in the mountains but as you can see, Adam and I don’t have to rug up like we would if we lived in a cold climate such as the northern regions of North America. I think we sort of regretted not bringing light jackets but over all, when we were walking we didn’t notice the coolness in the air. I am pretty spoiled.

The drive up to Dorrigo National Park off the Pacific Highway is on Waterfall Way. It took me almost 2 hours to drive up there. It would have been quicker if there hadn’t been construction going on but hey, I am not really complaining. When you drive on the Waterfall Way, you do get to see a couple of waterfalls as you drive past Thora to get to Dorrigo National Park. In the town of Dorrigo there is another waterfall that you can drive to and then walk up to. It’s called Dangar Falls. Adam and I have done that before. I will have to delve into my computer to try to share more of the sights I have seen to share with you all.

This has got to be one of the best reasons why I feel in love with the Coffs Coast. It is to me like a piece of paradise on earth. If you ever have the inclination to come to Australia, I would strongly suggest visiting this area. Imagine being able to live either in the mountains or down by the coast and be able to drive up into the mountains to see the beauty of nature so close to your home. It’s a real mind blower! I still pinch myself when I realize that I actually live here.

I have always loved waterfalls. I have always loved being out in nature. I have always loved the mountains and the beach. I look at the beauty of Australia and know I have only begun to scratch the surface. This land is ancient. It’s people so wise because they valued the land and spirits. I know I am not born Aboriginal but I really appreciate their outlook on their heritage. There is so much to learn from them.

I saw this on the walk and thought to myself how beautiful to make this connection.

I saw this on the walk and thought to myself how beautiful to make this connection.

I had never seen fern trees until I came to Australia. I get to see them when I drive to work on Toormina Road. I still feel wonder. You know you are looking at something extraordinary. You see how timeless this land is and how blessed it was to still have trees and grasses that haven’t really changed much at all.

I tried to take a good picture of a fern tree to share. I don't think I did it justice.

I tried to take a good picture of a fern tree to share. I don’t think I did it justice.

The actual trunk of the fern tree. I don't think you can really see how it's growing.

The actual trunk of the fern tree. I don’t think you can really see how it’s growing.

Another view of a fern tree from the top.

Another view of a fern tree from the top.

I love seeing new growth in the forest.

I love seeing new growth in the forest.

Even the Brushturkey wanted to pose for me while Adam and I refueled after lunch.

Even the Brush turkey wanted to pose for me while Adam and I refueled after lunch.

I realize that I am not really doing Dorrigo National Forest the great write-up that it deserves. Adam and I only ventured a little bit. We want to go again in the summer but it was a nice change all the same for us. I don’t think I will ever fall out of love with the Coffs Coast.

Here is a link to help you decide if you would like to come see the beauty of the area http://www.coffscoast.com.au/

Yellow Wattle and Mimosas


Pink Mimosa my favorite wattle from childhood.

Pink Mimosa my favorite wattle from childhood.

Australian yellow wattle Adam's favorite wattle

Australian yellow wattle Adam’s favorite wattle

It never ceases to amaze me how much Adam and I have in common even though we grew up in different hemispheres. When I grew up in Louisiana, the pink mimosa were always blooming around late May to June right around the time my birthday came along and even until Judy’s birthday which is July 8. Now the pink mimosa that I see around Australia are blooming in late spring to early summer which would be November until January. When I saw the mimosa blooming towards the back of the house we bought in Werrington back in 2005 I knew it was a sign for me. If you are new to following my blog, you will find out that I am a believer of signs.

When I first came to Australia, I asked Adam which scent did he love the most. He told me the yellow wattle which is pictured above. I love the yellow wattle as well. It blooms from June until around August. I always saw it blooming everywhere we went during my first visit to this land I now call home. It tickles me that we both have affection for the wattle. They are related even though it might be somewhat distant and bloom around the time of my birthday even if it’s in different hemispheres. It always brings a smile to my dial when I think of the mimosa and the yellow wattle.

The wonder and beauty of nature always astounds me. If I can draw or see a connection, I will be the first to admit it. Perhaps it’s the hopeless romantic in me. There is no shame in admission. Do you have any connections that you make that you take as signs? If so, please share!