Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A Christmas Story and Snow Globes

Is that gorgeous or what? Too bad they won't ship to Australia. I love snow globes; have a collection started that includes only 4 so far but this one is a must have. If you're a fan of the very best Christmas movie ever made, A Christmas Story, this article titled Cinematical Seven: Ways to Watch 'A Christmas Story' is a must read. I can no longer benefit from number 1, and 7 occured two years ago, so I now stick to number 3 (this year it was on Boxing Day with the hubs and a cheese and pate platter).

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy New Year

I found this on another blog and I'm not sure where, although I suspect it may have been Expat Women. (If you are an expat and haven't yet discovered Expat Women, regardless of your gender, it is well worth some investigation.) Anyway, I thought the below was worthy of a New Year's post. They all seem like difficult questions for me, to be honest, but here goes.

(1) What brings you and yours pleasure?

Someone I feel this is very close to question number three, although perhaps pleasure is more superficial than meaning hey?

(2) What are your inner gifts?
These seem to be constantly changing these days. I so feel that becoming an expat has made me a better person and helped me to be able to look outside of myself and develop more of a concern for others. At the moment, and at the risk of being immodest, I would say my gift of late is in bringing people together and helping others to feel more settled here in Adelaide. I'm also really chuffed with something someone else said about me on another blog. Alaskan Dave has this to say about my blog:

"How did #5's blog change your life?
I think that
Suzer's blog has inspired me to get a bit more connected with folks around the world. As there is a great many cool people out there and it's nice to get to know a few of them."

How nice is that? I'm glad my ramblings inspired someone---really great:)

(3) What gives your life meaning?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, my marriage, as well as my connections with others, are what give my life meaning. That and travel (although I don't seem to be getting much of that in lately).
All of that being said, a Happy New Year to all, although I don't put much stock in this holiday. Steve and I will be going out to a couple of parties tomorrow night, and it will be nice to catch up with some people. Will be my 1st time being a designated driver in Adelaide, on the one night of the year I prefer not to be out on the road!

Monday, 29 December 2008

The Whispering Wall

We decided it would be nice to get off our arses and see something over the xmas break, so took a drive out to the Whispering Wall today. If you speak on one end of it, the person on the other end can hear you. (I think they have some technology hidden away to make this work, but perhaps my non-technical brain just can't understand how acoustics work.)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Aussie Christmas (Eve)

We went to see the Lobethal Christmas lights last night (pics below). When I said something to hubs about how so many people had stars up, and it seemed more Jewish/Hanukkah than Christmas to me, he said: "Nah, the star just represents those dudes that followed it, you know."

Lobethal Christmas Lights

This is a yearly thing and at least 2/3 of the homes in the town have a lights display, some larger than others. We spent almost 2 hours there last night. It was jam packed.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hiking at Belair National Park

Went on a 4 hour hike Sunday in Belair National Park (was meant to be 2 hours but we kind of got lost). My legs still ache today, but it was well worth it.

Monday, 22 December 2008

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Alaskan Dave. I must list the last ten commenters on my blog, say a bit about each of their blogs, and then (in part two) I answer a question about each one. I'm not yet sure on how part two works, so will clarify that later. A slight difficulty with this is that not all of the persons who have commented lately have their own blogs, so some of the last ten commenters will be skipped. Sorry, if you don't have a blog, you don't get to play:( All of you listed below, consider yourself tagged.

Opinioneater: I met Jen through the Expats in Adelaide group. Well, actually I met her because someone else I met through another blog and subsequently invited to the Expats in Adelaide meet up sent Jen. Anyway, Jen is a fantastic writer and fellow foodie, and sadly (to me anyway) she is repatriating to the US soon. I haven't had nearly enough time to get to know her:( Hopefully she keep up with her blog and share more stories about food, politics and places.

A Free Man: I haven't had the chance to meet this fellow in person yet. He is another fellow Yank expat in Adelaide who writes about life in general and shares his favourite music with his readers. His take on things is blunt, honest and humourous at times, and he either has more time or better writing skills, or both, than me.

Carrie: Well, in all honesty, I don't know who she is. She must have found me randomly.

Debbie: Debbie is one of the creators of Blog Around the World, which is well worth checking out. That is about all I know of Debbie at the moment.

Ella: Ella found me through BatW (above). Ella is crafty; have a look.

Erin: Aussie Erin is another expat from the US, although she lices in Sydney. I'm quite sure we met through Yanks Down Under. She writes about her expat adventures as well, and her Thanksgiving pics are to die for!

Lilly: Lilly found me through Where the Blog are You, which is a site for Australian bloggers? (Hey I'm not an Australian, yet, but I live here and I blog, a lot of the time, about Australia.) I don't read her blog often enough. She has a lot of insights worth reading.

Elsja: And on to another American expat in Oz. Elsja is great although I haven't had the luck to meet her in person yet. I follow her blog, which are the witty and very humourous updates on her life in Sydney with her pilot.

Louisa: Louisa also found me throuth WTBAY, in fact I think she may be the creator. Go have a look. It's a good project.

Dina: Dina is the writer behind This Marriage Thing, which I absolutely adore. Who knows how to be a wife, I say? How many of us had proper role models, or had enough insight into our parents' relationships even if we did? I'm pretty sure that I found Dina's site through a google search for sites about marriage.

Honourable mention:
The below peeps don't have blogs but they deserve a mention anyway.

Muddiah: This is my mom and she has consistently followed my blog from go.

Steveg: A buddy back in Leeds who I wish was here with his fantastic wife Paula.

All being said and done, my commenters belong to a small world, but that's ok. Perhaps that's the wrong way to say it. Most are Aussies or Yanks who live Down Under, but our world view is certainly not small.

Have You Ever Had to Beg?

I'm re-reading Rita Golden Gelman's Tales of a Female Nomad and there is an instance where she has to beg for bus fare as she's accidentally left her wallet at home. It reminded me of the one time I had to ask strangers for money. I was 17 and had driven into the city for a haircut, parked my car in a pay lot and come out of the haircut to realise I'd given the cute hairdresser so much of a tip that I hadn't left myself enough money to pay for the parking. Back then, I didn't have a credit card or atm/debit card, so it was either ask someone for the $2 I needed or...well, there really wasn't any other option. Luckily for me, the first people I asked, two middle aged women, were very sympathetic and happy to help.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

International Migrant's Day

Well, it is International Migrant's Day in 2 days. I'd never heard of it before. It is described by the UN as:

"On 4 December 2000, the General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day. On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection."

There is even an entire website dedicated to this day. Migrant, by definition, means to move from one country or region and settle in another. To whose of us who have always counted ourselves amongst those more privileged, becoming a migrant can be a humbling experience and on this day more than others, it's a good time to reflect on this. It's a time to "express support and solidarity with all migrants", according to Diversity at Work:

  • "Worldwide, an estimated 130 million people live outside their countries of origin.
  • In 2004-05, Australia's population increased by 110,100 persons through migration, representing 46% of total population growth for the year.
  • In Australia 25% of the workforce was born overseas. "

To all my migrant friends (and myself at the moment) I think the most important issue at the moment is finding work. It's more of a challenge for many of us as employers are put off by visa issues and concerns, a perceived idea that non-native English speakers are not as capable, and a general bias and passive (and sometimes active) discrimination against foreigners. Survival comes first and with an entire host of issues immigrants have when arriving in their new country, first and foremost in importance is finding a means of sustainability. My best thoughts and wishes that those of us who are looking all have some luck with employment in the new year.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Right Speech

My husband and I have different ways of handling situations and saying things. I like to think that most of the time, I practice right speech. By right speech, I mean making sure that what comes out of my mouth is at least 2 of 3 things, when possible: kind, true, and necessary. Right speech is a Buddhist concept and is divided into 4 components:

  • to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully,
  • to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others,
  • to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and
  • to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth.

It's not always an easy concept to live by, but as words have such important effects, it is something to keep foremost in one's mind. I can think of two incidents that happened this weekend where right speech was not used; one by me, and the other by my husband, neither to do with each other. Not using right speech can waste time, energy, and cause unnecessary upset. Thinking about what you say along these lines, even just a little bit more, can make a world of difference.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Fixing the Porch

Gotta love having handy men around! Phase 1 of the porch project has begun. This is one instance where the hubs actually asked for his photo to be taken;) Today the roof, railings, and tiles came off. It's now 4pm, they began at 9am, and I would bet they have another 2 hours or so left. Now we just have to do some concrete work, put down waterproofing and new tiles, repaint the railings and re-attach.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I'm not old!

Over the past year or so my wrinkles have made, at least to me, a more noticeable presence. I always said I wouldn't care...but I do! Someone sent me this picture today and I'm going to be makes me feel pretty.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll

I completely forgot that it was Thanksgiving today, until I saw this post on another blog I follow. I've never thought about the fact that what he had to say is so true, that Thanksgiving is about being grateful and not a commercial holiday like so many others.

  • First and foremost, I'm thankful for my husband
  • I'm thankful it will have only been 2 years since I've been home by the time I visit. I hear way too many stories of people who've been here for 5 or more years and haven't been able to make it home for various reasons
  • I'm thankful that I get to go out to Norwood today to meet up with Tamara for lunch and make a trip to Chili Mojo (and hopefully pick up some frozen Mexican food to bring home)
  • I'm thankful for the invite to a Thanksgiving dinner at a fellow expat's house
  • I'm thankful to all of the people who've made Expats in Adelaide a success, mostly because it's been so fantastic to meet them all and feel a part of something here, as well as feel like I've done something constructive that's added to my personal happiness
  • I'm thankful that I'm an expat, and that that has changed my life so much, in so many positive ways, allowing me to be the person I've always wanted to be

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Six White Boomers and other Aussie Xmas Oddities

Well worth checking out is the most popular Australian Christmas song. Put my Christmas tree up last week in 70F, blindingly sunny weather....very odd.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

What My Husband Did Today

...and the view from our backyard. I did a 2 hour hike that nearly killed me, but I forgot to take the camera:/

Friday, 14 November 2008

Central Market

I decided to do my fruit & veg shopping at Central Market today since I was down to visit Ayers House and have lunch at Malacca Corner with a friend. When I was beginning my shop, I decided to see if I could buy everything on my list off the bargain tables. (Jen at Opinioneater got me thinking with this post about ugly fruit.) Quite often, each stall has a section with bags or items for $1-2. I ended up spending about $7 and the only items on the below list I didn't get off the bargain table were the bananas and broccoli, the latter of which I couldn't pass up as it was $1.99/kg and was $4.99/kg last week at our fruit & veg shop near home (and $6.99/kg the week before that!)

1 bag of 5 apples
1 bag of 3 lemons + 2 apples
1 bag of dates
(All 3 bags above for $2)
1 bag of 4 gigantic pears, a type of which I don't know the name but look like an apple but taste like a pear ($1)
1 bag of 3 small sweet potatoes ($1)
1 head of broccoli (70 cents)
3 bananas ($2.20)

Grand total: $6.90

My usual veg shop for the week costs $10-13!! I typically buy more veg than fruit but these items were a steal and we still have some corn, potatoes and green beans from last week's shop.

Thursday, 13 November 2008


This picture is just worth a post. Steve and his dad went kayaking this past weekend (was a father's day gift as they haven't had much time together over the past few years what with Steve being overseas).

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Another Golden Nugget & Gratitude

I spoke about golden nuggets a while back. I'll share one I saw yesterday. I was waiting for the bus to go into the city and when it came, the driver got out of his seat, went and picked up a pram/stroller from the luggage rack, got off the bus with it, and set it up for a mom who was getting off the bus with her toddler. (That would not happen in Chicago.)

Occasionally, I remember to have a look at a blog called This Marriage Thing and just spotted something called The Gratitude Project. I'm doing #3 & #4 in this post. I don't know if I'll have a chance to say thank you three times a day for 10 days to my hubs, but I can try. I do always try to thank him for what he does do, because I sure nag him enough on the things he doesn't;) I'm contemplating doing the grocery shop alone today, even though I don't feel like I should have to. It's something we always do together and I did it myself last time. I have had time off work; hubs told me today I should do it myself because 1) I'm the housewife right now and 2) he has things to do. Now, the things he has to do are pick up an engine for his car and play with his toys (he's building up a car). Marriage is tricky. Do you let it go, and not think about the right and wrong all the time, in order to stick to fighting the fights that matter, or do you refuse to have food in the house because you think hubs should go with? I guess there's no right answer. While I think the old man should take an hour out to assist, I don't feel like nagging all day, so I think I will go it alone. Perhaps I'll get some gratitude in return.

Modified to add: My husband, who didn't even know about The Gratitude Project (until I told him afterwards) thanked me 3 times Saturday for 3 different things, and told me what a good wife I was. (Perhaps doing things like taking over grocery shopping responsibilities once in a while is a good thing!)

Friday, 7 November 2008

Expats for Obama

I hope Obama remembers us. He did mention, in his acceptance speech, people overseas, although I think he was referring to other cultures, not expats. Over the past few days, I have spoken to and read blogs by other expats who express the same sentiments. We're proud, we're more patriotic than we ever were as residents of the US, and we can finally hold our heads up high again. We no longer feel (even if we were patriotic before) that we have to defend our country against negative comments that may have some basis in truth...we can refer to America as a great and wonderful country again...because things are changing for the better.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Linus in the Pumpkin Patch

I love holiday cartoons. I have all of the Peanuts specials and as many Christmas cartoons and movies as you can think of. 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' is one of my favourites; I watched it when I was carving the Halloween pumpkin, and played it for the kids when we had our Halloween party last weekend. I love Linus' tenacity and belief in the Great Pumpkin, although I can understand how cheated Sally feels at the end when she realises she has missed out on trick-or-treats and parties while sitting waiting for something that didn't even happen. I felt like Sally in the pumpkin patch while I was watching the rally in Grant Park last night. Here I am in little old Adelaide, not loving it as much at the moment, most likely because I'm not working and am not sure where my career will take me next, not having had much luck with temp work over the past few weeks, and there is the next President of the US, Barack Obama, in my hometown...and if I wasn't sitting here doing nothing, I'd be in that crowd. I do like Adelaide but so far, I haven't found it to have the spirit or vibrancy of where I am from, or anywhere else I have lived in the past few years. I'd rather have my husband than a vibrant place to live and an empty house to come home to, but there are some times, more than others, when the sacrifice hits me hard.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Now that it's Summer....

or at least it feels like it, there are some things I'd like to do. We spend far too much time around the house, mostly because there's so much to do here, but it's time to break the habit and get out more.
  • Beach bbq!
  • BBQ/party at the house (once the porch is complete)
  • A lazy Sunday in a beer garden with friends
  • Some time up at Mt Lofty, including the Botanic Gardens there, which I have yet to see
  • A hike somewhere, perhaps at Waterfall Gully (perhaps not all the way to Mt Lofty as that takes 3 hours!)
  • Attend an Adelaide United game

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Well, I've just had an interesting experience. I'm just home from my first Australian motorsports event, something called Gazzanats (so named for Gary Myers, the fella who started it...Aussie nickname for Garry is Gazza, go figure, combined with nats for national). The two day event was primarily comprised of burnouts, which as far as I can suss out, is a car standing still and then going in small circles whilst burning the tyres enough to blow smoke all over the audience. I can't quite figure out the allure, but hey, it was a nice sunny day and I got to snack on yiros, chips, corn dogs, ice cream and something called a chico roll (which is very over-hyped by the way). I didn't figure out until about 4pm where they were hiding the beer tent, and by then the beer was sold out:( Pics to follow...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Oh boy am I in for it

Well it is about 80F today and I'm sitting in the sun on my porch. It is bloody hot man, and this is only Spring. It gets into the 100s here, and this feels like a completely different sun than the one we have back home. I'm retreating inside.

I Finally Have Some Wheels!

Well, I have been a true pedestrian for well over 3 years now. Buying a car in Australia has been on my mind, but until recently, I was holding off as there are plenty of other things to spend money on and the gas/petrol here is outrageous. That being said, not being able to get out and about without begging my husband to take me became far too much to endure! We've been looking for a couple of weeks and yesterday finally bought something...a '93 Toyota Camry wagon (only the best car in the world!).

Update: The car is home. She has some cosmetic defects and you can tell the last owner or two didn't take very good care of her interior, but she runs fine. Sorted out registration today ($730!!!) and am working on insurance, while the hubs is finding me new(ish) tires. Coversation between the two of us last night below regarding getting the car insured (keep in mind for the last 6+ months the hubs has not allowed me to drive his car because it is not insured, and told me that if I wanted to drive it, I had to insure it). While I love that he found me a good, reasonably priced vehicle, I must poke a bit of fun at him.

Hubs: "Well you'll have to add me to the insurance."

Me: "Yeah right! And why would I do that?" (Hubs is a bit of a petrol head and I would so not let him put that stress on my new baby.)

Hubs: "It will help my insurance rating." (Hubs was about one speeding ticket away from losing his license when we got back in Oz...4 in one year will do it.)

Me: *ROTFLMAO* "Dream on!"

The things men try to get away with!