Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 2

So I drove to work this morning.

I left REALLY early and still got caught in traffic (that was surprising!) and made my way there fine. I took all my exits perfectly and followed Murray's fabulous map that was like 3 feet long - a bunch of pieces of paper taped together. I got there an hour before work started (hey - but it was my first time - I wanted to make sure I had LOTS of time). It was good to be early anyhow since this was my first time working at this work site.

Work was fine - I sat in a meeting and understood SOME of what they were talking about, then I read manuals - fun fun fun! Oh the best part of the day was when the guy on my team noticed I had a Dilbert calender and asked if he could look at some of the cartoons (Murray gave it to me as part of my b-day present) :)

Driving home was ok until I got about half way - then I missed my exit (I saw a sign that was my exit, but then just before the exit the sign changed and I thought that exit would mean I was going the wrong way). SO I didn't take it, then got lost, then ended up in the city - opps! So I ended up just picking Murray up at work and we drove home together.

THIS is the thing that I don't like about driving here - the other side of the road - I am getting used to, the roundabouts - fine, but the fact that if I take a wrong turn - most of the time I cannot easily turn around and get back to where I went wrong is SO frustrating!

Anyhow, I looked at a map and I now know where I went wrong and it won't happen again:) And thankfully tomorrow I am back at the site with Murray so we can drive together whew (i.e. he an drive:)

And our little home made pizza was SOOOOOO fabulous tonight - we were too hungry to take photos! :)

Monday, March 30, 2009

B-days and back to work

Saturday night we went out to dinner to celebrate Murray's birthday
My mother-in-law Lyn & I

We were treated to a lovely meal at our favourite place - Ribs & Rumps!!!
Lyn, Me, Helen & the birthday boy Murray

And yes we tried something new - Murray had the double burger - WOW it was huge (and yummy!).

I had the fresh barramundi which was lovely as well!

For dessert they surprised Murray by bringing out this lovely little chocolate mousse which had sparklers in it! They came to our table singing Happy Birthday and Murray looked around and nearly said 'whose birthday is it?' Ha ha - he was totally surprised! The dessert was Fabulous as well!

The next day after a lovely wander around Manly we came across the local Manly-Warringah Scottish bagpipe band performing down by the beach! They were raising money for their trip to Scotland to participate in a bagpipers competition!

video
They even had a group of girls dancing the Scottish fling! Fantastic!

I also finally took a picture of this sign - the beach closest to us is North Steyne (it is just down from Manly - basically the same piece of sand though). I think it is pretty darn fantastic that they won cleanest beach in NSW (our state - New South Wales)!!!

AND so today was my first day of work. Our commute driving was fine (we actually work at the same place here - bizarre I know)! It was a normal first day - lots and lots of information - too much to process in just one day. Also lots of unknowns - like where do they keep the extra printer paper? how do I release my laptop from this desk thingy it is connected to? And how ODD is it that they have signs in the restroom telling you to check the color of your urine to see how hydrated you are..... bizarre! My little team and I went out to a very nice lunch with a great view, then we walked to a place that had fantastic views of the bridge and the opera house - I only wish I had had my camera!!!

Only bad thing - I already have to go to the other work site tomorrow (my job will be split between these sites). SO I have to drive. I have checked out every public transport option - and they are all at minimum two hours - yuck. Driving should only take 50 minutes - but I am leaving MUCH MUCH earlier than that tomorrow (like - giving myself 2 hours cause it is my first time driving this route) because
1. I want to go before the traffic so that I can drive a bit slowly and take in the route and not be freaked out by packed rush hour traffic
2. past a certain point I haven't driven this route before - so the less traffic the better
3. this is only my second time driving outside of our little area - so I am of course a bit scared

BUT my lovely husband has spent the last half an hour printing me out great maps, and highlighting them, and explaining them to me, and taping them together so it is nice and easy for me. I know I just need to get out there and do this to gain some confidence - and I know it will be just fine - I just need to practice practice practice! WISH ME LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh and tonight at work the power went out at 4:45 - we heard that the city's power was out as well, so I asked if I could go home and my boss said that was fine. The traffic was a bit busy, but we got home alright. We saw on the news tonight that power went out in all of downtown Sydney causing 2 hours of traffic chaos - some tunnels to closed, people got stuck in elevators, and tons and tons of terrible traffic. We actually saw a view on the news of people sitting at the entrance to the tunnel we took earlier tonight - eek that was lucky!

Now - here's to the good driving luck extending to me tomorrow!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

547 Days

It has been 547 days since I last stepped foot in an office. My last day of work in London was 28 September 2007 .....

Monday I start my new job - eeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!!

So in preparation, I filled out all the forms & the contract they sent me this week & returned it to the company. I also did my online induction today - which included such health & safety stunners like 'do not stand on your desk, it is dangerous' - also, 'do not run, walking is safer'
ah yes - will have to keep that in mind

SO I am nervous. It is a job that is different to what I have done before, but the good thing was I was honest about what I have and have not done, SO they have decided to hire me & train me up since I do have some relevant experience. This means quite a big learning curve for me - but I think I'm up for it!!!

Now - the big decisions - what shirt & what shoes to wear??? hmmmm

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exercise, popcorn & candy & a Birthday!

Today I walked to the gym, did a body pump (weights) class, and walked back - I am exhausted.

Tonight we are going to see the movie Watchman and eat lots of candy & popcorn & soda (goes well with the exercise huh? oh well) - to celebrate Murray's birthday (crazy work night b-day celebration - ha ha - we will properly celebrate this weekend)!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Back to the gym!

We joined the gym this week and today was my third day attending. It felt GREAT to be back taking classes - my favourites are body pump (a full body weights routine set to music) and body attack (a high impact aerobics class). I am really sore after not having exercised much in the last few months (we hiked on our trip, so I am counting that as exercise - but this is the first time I have been to a gym since we left London in Sept 07!!!)

I like our new gym. They have branches all over and you can go to any of them - one is close to our place (4 miles or 6.3 km away - I walked back today in 45 minutes), one is near work, and one is on the way home. So hopefully we can make this a regular thing!

Things I Like:
*they gave us a lovely 'welcome' pack of a backpack (that I actually will use - it's a good size), water bottle & hat
*I counted 15 flat screen tv's - now just gotta find my headphones!
*classes classes classes hooray! I love group exercise

Anyhow, other than that I have just been making my way to the beach to read, and making dinner for Murray. This is his first week at work (and my last week before starting work!) and he is starving every night when he gets home (hard to get used to sitting at a desk every day again!)

Tonight I made Lamington cupcakes!!!
Lamingtons are a classic Aussie dessert - they are sponge cake which is dipped in chocolate and then covered in coconut
Traditionally they are made in cube like shapes - but I like the idea of cupcakes - I think they look kinda cute:)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I will miss you Minnie Moose

Our family dog Minnie passed away last night... she lived a happy 12 1/2 years with my family and will be missed very very much.
Right after we got Minnie I took her along to my senior photos session - the summer before my senior year 1996 - gosh isn't she adorable

When I was away at my first year of college, I just happened to be home sick when Minnie started giving birth to her puppies

She ended up having 11 gorgeous little pups - all of whom were adopted by friends & family

Our family photo with the 11 puppies - cute huh?

Minnie the lioness - protecting the house

Murray came to love Minnie as well and she loved him right back

Me & Dad with from left - Minnie, and two of her puppies Ethel & Kiddy (whom my Grandma / aunt & uncle Joni & Kevin adopted)

Christmas Minnie & Me

On one trip home I crawled into a bunk and she came up to snuggle - even though she was bigger than me! When she was a puppy I always let her sleep with me, as soon as my parents would leave the room I would pull her up under the covers

All dressed up

Over at my aunt & uncle's place using their computer - Minnie was like my little shadow - she'd follow me where ever I went when I was home

Minnie up on the steps with her puppy Kiddy (resting his head) and Joni & Kevin's other dog Jagermeister

Kiddy, Jagger and Minnie at Grandma's door waiting for a treat!

Minnie on the boat - she LOVED coming on the boat and enjoying the view

Minnie with my sister Mariah

Murray treating Minnie to a belly rub

Minnie posing with Murray & I & our truck Dolph

Me & my baby - sweetest dog ever
All dressed up!

Murray also did a photo shoot with Minnie - such a gorgeous photo

Happy Happy Girl!

My baby

My parents also adopted a new puppy last summer - Brock - Minnie totally took him in (after a little reluctance at first) they became such good friends, and I think in the end he would have been a great comfort to her

Best of friends

I love you so much Minnie, and I'm sad you won't be there when I come back to Minnesota in just a few weeks time, but our family loved you so much and I know you know that because they were so good to you these last months when you were struggling and allowed you to live out your last days in a happy loving environment. I hope you are happy and I love you and I will see you again one day.


Now I just want to post this story called 'The purpose of a dog' because it really touched me

The Purpose of a Dog - from a 4 yr. old's perspective
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The four- year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lovely Weekend

On Saturday we made our way to Steve & Selina's, then headed over to Steve's parent's house for lunch
After a wonderful lunch we went out to their yard to see their chicken coop!

Me & the coop

Steve & Clara watching the chickens as they were let out for a walk

Cluck cluck cluck - they have 6 chickens which each lay an egg a day

6 eggs again - yay!


Murray liked this one

They also have a great veggie garden! We were lucky to be sent home with a huge cucumber, zucchini and 12 fresh eggs - fantastic! Last time we got a dozen eggs from them we went quiche crazy - such a nice healthy meal:)

Clara entertaining me in the car - she is SO cute - I was trying to get a photo of when she tried on my sunglasses and then pushed them up on her head just like a big girl!

Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of Amelia, but it was fun to give her her birthday present and then teach her how to use the walkie talkies!


The boys went out that evening to a rugby game, Selina and I stayed home with the girls - had some lovely wine, chips & dip and had a GREAT 4 hour chat, while girly movies played in the background (Beaches & Dirty Dancing)!

Sunday we had a fun pub lunch with them and then headed to Bronte Beach (near Bondi) to celebrate Ali's birthday. It was fun to see Anna & Ali, to see their friends again and to meet Ali's parents who are over visiting from Scotland. It didn't hurt that it was an absolutely gorgeous day again as well!

Hey and cool thing at Bronte - they have these great little 'huts' which are split into 4 with picnic tables in each corner. You claim a spot, then they have these communal grills, where you can cook your meat! People were lining up to cook, and it was free - such a fantastic idea!

Today (Monday) I finally made my way back to the gym. I caught the bus up to Dee Why and popped into a gym that has a low priced week 'introduction' to the gym. I went to a Body Pump class, which is bascially a full body weights workout set to music - I LOVE that class! It was fun to do it again (I used to go regularly in London) although shocking to see just how weak I have become (18 months off will do it to ya)! When I left the class and walked down the stairs to the change room my legs were like jelly - I dread to think how sore I will be tomorrow!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What to do what to do............

It felt weird today - the first day of being all on my own - what to do?

It made me realize how great it was to have each other while job searching these last 12 weeks - taking breaks to go out for a walk, go to the beach to swim, or just pop to the shops.... it's always nice to have someone to do that with - especially your fab husband/best friend - I missed him today!!!

I didn't do anything exciting today, but I had a nice run this morning along the ocean front, read my book and cooked a nice dinner - I think that's enough for today.

Looking forward to a great weekend of catching up with friends!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ONE LAST DAY!! PANIC!

Today to celebrate Murray's last day 'off' before returning to the world of work - we walked down to Shelly beach and finally got out our snorkeling stuff
There was a TON of amazing looking fish - this guy had his 'feelers' out and was sweeping the sand - cool! This guy sat above him the whole time - fish love.

Lovely colours

Me - thumbs up - but arms held close cause it was COLD! The t-shirt and shorts are so I wouldn't get all sunburnt. (I do love my pink snorkeling gear though - fun to get it out again!)

Murray - check out all the little fish by his fins - we were surrounded by a huge group of gorgeous little colourful fish

This is the Eastern Blue Groper we were following, which by the way was made NSW state fish!



These are the fish we were surrounded by when taking photos

Oooh sneaky sneak fish! ha ha I see you!


The Eastern Blue Groper heading into the sea weed.



These fish were BUSY BUSY around this bush of sea weed! To put it in perspective the fish were about 20 to 30 inches - This was a deeper section that Murray floated over.



Creepy Creepy Cuttlefish! They look like squid....amybe they are squid? Hard to tell... LOADS of them down there!!


A squid??? The first time I ever saw a squid? snorkeling was when we snorkeled off this beach years ago, great to see them again today - they are SO amazing looking!!!

The 'Squid' or Cuttlefish...in a 'school'? Murray said they are like eerie 'sea bats'







Murray was floating out in the deep over just the sand bottom and spotted this HUGE Flathead!! He said it was the biggest he has ever seen....it's hard to tell from the pic, but he said it was the size of his leg!! Seriously.







The Eastern Blue Groper



How happy does this guy look with his big lips?!



Gosh what an amazing place to snorkel (I also saw a gorgeous angel fish & a little ray when swimming back in to shore) - great to know this fantastic place is right on our doorstep:)