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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.

My Australian Favorite Groups Top Ten Picks


My taste in music can be called eclectic. My fave genre would have to be funk but I do enjoy other sorts varying from pop, smooth jazz, classic rock as well as pub rock. Lately it seems I have been grooving to house and electronica too. My main focus today will be on Australian groups. I have heard some really great groups and solo artists from Australia since I moved here. It seems a lot of groups think they have to go the USA to make it big or leave their mark on the entertainment world but this list I am putting out today are the top ten that I love.

There have been groups that have reached icon status from Australia. The biggest one has to be INXS followed by Men At Work and Midnight Oil. The Little River Band made it big in the 70s. There are so many great groups to choose but this is my top ten.
10. Sneaky Sound System: the first time this group came to my attention was at a NYE that channel 9 promoted in 2006. They were quite lively and I really like their style.  I Love It!

Off their second album

Adam and I love this one which is from their latest album. “From Here To Everywhere”

9. Rogue Traders: Another band that I can’t seem to get enough of. They seem to sample quite a bit but who doesn’t these days. The first album I bought by them was “Here Comes The Drums” which featured “Voodoo Child”. I brought this album with me to share with my family in Louisiana at my niece’s high school graduation. Every track off that album I really loved. Here are 3 tracks that I can’t seem to hear enough!

This one I have song on my Playstation 3 so much I think Adam wants earplugs!

8. The Presets: This group reminds me of Depeche Mode a bit but I really love their style. I got this album for my 40th birthday. I could be quite upset but when I hear this song the good mood comes back to me ever strong!

7. The Potbelleez: Their song Don’t Hold Back was used in a jeep commerical but it’s on my mp3 list. I do love dance music! and this one here reminds me of my family reunion in 2012!

6. John Butler Trio: The leader of this group writes some really great songs. I love his use of lyrics. He’s more folk and blues. My all time fave by him is  Another fave: Losing You though makes me cry.

5. Icehouse: Iva Davies is another wonderful songwriter who also has an amazing voice.

4. Men At Work: I know my age is showing here. I was a child of the eighties but these guys were terrific! I am not going to feature the usual songs by them but the ones I really loved that never got airplay much! My all time favorite is:

3. Cold Chisel: I didn’t know about these legends of Aussie Rock until I settled in Australia. I am sure this band has paid it dues. This is from their latest album and I must say it’s a keeper. I get goosebumps listening to it. I featured this tree before on my facebook once but it’s still a great song. love Ian Moss’ voice and Jimmie Barnes’ harmonizing.

2. Australian Crawl (Aussie Crawl): Another group I never heard off until I migrated to Australia but they do have some great songs.

1. INXS: I loved this band since I was living in the states. There is something about them that just defies words. Andrew and Michael together created some awesome songs.

Because we all have a devil inside!

I know there are many other great groups from Australia but these are my top ten. There are many honorable mentions but I thought I would just share my top 10. Please feel free to share/add!

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

Top Blunders So Far


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!

This was taken at Rainbow Bay and in the far background you see skyscrapers

This was taken at Rainbow Bay and in the far background you see skyscrapers

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???

Video Blog of Cabins Beach King Low Tide


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!

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!

Party on Garth: December Peace Challenge


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.

Image

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 yaussiechick@damorris.com 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:

http://lauriesnotes.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/b4peace-monthly-challenge-a-gathering-of-kindred-spirits

http://www.kellykuhn.com/2013/12/a-family-peace-party/

http://everydaygurus.com/2013/12/02/monthly-peace-challenge-party-on-garth/

http://appletonavenue.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/december-blog-for-peace/

Racquetball revisited!


I’ve always loved tennis and never really thought I was that athletic but I really enjoy goofing around with a racket and ball. This goes all the way back to the my youth. I begged my parents for a tennis racket and balls to bang on the barn my dad built with the help of my brother, Kevin and myself. It wasn’t a really huge barn; it was more like a wooden shed but it really fed my imagination into overdrive. I would ask my sisters to play tennis with me but when they would get bored or didn’t feel like playing I could be found banging the tennis ball against a wall of the barn before or after I did my chores. I would pretend I was competing in Wimbledon or the French Open. I was just mad about it.

When I went to Uni, I discovered racquetball. I always wanted to keep banging the ball against the wall, any wall that I could find but as I got older I just didn’t follow through like I used to do. In the numerous moves that I have done, I always wanted to go back to playing racquetball even by myself but of course, I never did do it.

Last week, I was talking with Adam and we decided it was time for me to get another racquet as well as balls so that I could pick up my favourite sport that I liked to do. Today we went to town because he had an appointment. He also booked me some time at a squash court. We both thought it best for me to start out with half an hour. Lenny was with us too and when we got to the squash court, I was given court 4 which had a glass wall. Adam sat outside the court I was in on a couch with Lenny in harnass sitting on the floor. I went inside and started banging the ball with my new racquet. I wish we had recorded Lenny’s reaction. He was actually making a crying sound. He was very excited in his harness trying to get to me so he could play as well. It actually got pretty distracting for me. Poor Adam couldn’t even listen to his podcasts that he had on his Iphone. I had to move them away so we both could be able to do what really wanted to do. When I came out to talk to Adam, he asked me why I was crying. I responded it was Lenny not me. I am having fun and laughing at your dog so I moved them to a table further down so that Lenny couldn’t be tormented by seeing me enjoying myself in the court.

I learned two things today. 1. Don’t take a guide dog with you when you want to play racquetball because the dog will create a racket because he can’t be in the court with you. 2. I really loved playing racquetball and was glad I only did it for 30 minutes. I think the last time I played it was 1989. I am looking forward to doing it again and building up my stamina so that I can play for an hour but I think that will take a little more time.

I am a little sore and tomorrow I may regret forgetting to warm up and cool down but I had a blast. I can’t wait to do it again.

Racquetball revisited: I loved every minute of it and hope to do it at least 3 times a week!

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!