Friday, 30 January 2009

Etsa Hot Day


Yes well it looks as though we're going to have extreme temperatures here for the next week. Hubs and I plan to take some time out tomorrow to go hang out at the shopping centre. My biggest concerns are power outages and fires at the moment (side note: if you are not from or living in Australia you may not understand the blog title, but...wait for it...), so while ETSA is shutting off power for short periods of time on purpose, we have our fingers crossed we don't lose power overnight as some people have over the past few days. I'm especially concerned about the two weeks worth of leftovers I have carefully packaged up for hubs for the time I am away in the US...curries, chicken dishes, lamb and beef stews will go off if we have more than a couple of hours without power, in this heat. And of course, the fish would most certainly kick the bucket. We did have a burst water main down the street yesterday, but no big uncontrollable fires as of yet. On the one hand, some wind is good at night to get a bit of slightly cooler air in, but if there's a fire, it's a huge hazard. Send my leftovers and fishies your positive vibes please!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

My Eyeballs are Sweating, and Other Adelaide Heat Wave Factoids



  • It is 45.5C today, which is about 115F. The inside of my house was 98F when I got home from work

  • Today was the hottest day in Adelaide in 108 years.

  • The trains weren't running this afternoon. It is so hot the tracks are buckling.

  • The buses (most of them anyway) have no a/c, so on the way home from work today it really felt as though my eyeballs were sweating, with hot air blowing in my face from the windows and vents.

  • Our fish are in distress. I don't like the fish tank, but I am fond of 'little yellow fish', so I hope he makes it. Have put one of the evaporative fans in the dining room, as it's much hotter in there.

  • Thank god we got new light blocking curtains for our main rooms; I don't know how Steve has made it here for 12 years without.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Dibs

If you're from Chicago, you are familiar with the practice of dibs in regards to winter parking. It's a long-standing tradition, and simply common courtesy. After spending up to an hour digging your car out of it's space, that space if yours. According to this article, the city is cracking down. Well I say shame on the city! I've never in all my years living in Chicago come across anyone who had a problem with 'dibs'. Alderman Richard Mell should be removed from office for suggesting that an alternative to dibs should be....'a shovelling party'. A shoveling party! Does Mr. Mell live in Chicago? Has he got a brain? Have a look at the link; he even looks like a moron. Streets & Sanitation spokesman Matt Smith agrees, saying 'The best way around all of this is to be good neighbors'. What a load of crap!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Australian Directness, or Rudeness?

More than 3 years with my husband and 2 years Down Under and I still don't understand the sense of humour. I don't remember it being quite the same in NZ, but I still wind up thinking people are being rude to me when they are joking here. I still feel offended, and I don't really get how it can be a joke, but I just have to go with it sometimes. Two examples from today:
  1. Getting ice cream at Brighton Beach today, I asked for rum raisin. I saw him going to scoop some that was in front of the berry flavour, so I said "Um, I wanted rum raisin." so he continued to scoop and said "This is rum raisin." and when he gave me the ice cream said in a completely dry tone..."See the raisins."
  2. Rang up a furniture store that we wanted to stop by on the way home, to make sure they were open on Sundays and until what time. The response: "We're open until 5...just like everyone else."

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Things to Buy When I Have a Full-Time Job

Money has been tight lately as I was off work for over 2 months in between jobs. I'm now temping but I still need to be careful, and owe hubs some money as well for my car and our heater (we keep our money separate; it avoids disagreements). So once the money is steady and I'm out of the red or at least close to it, I will be very excited about spending on the following:
  • Curtains for my office
  • Shades for all the bedrooms and the kitchen
  • Lush shower gel and shampoo
  • Pictures/artwork for around the house
  • A pedicure, massage and some laser hair removal

Friday, 16 January 2009

Things to do, Part 4

New To Do:
Haven't Gotten Around to Yet:
  • See the movie 'You The Living' (must see on DVD now)
  • Tandanya and Taste of Jamaica
  • A yoga class (I know, very bad me, but I am almost definitely going next week) Done
  • Hrm, I need to find Part 2 and am afraid I may have accidentally deleted it, although I know Cooper's Brewery was on the list

Networking in Adelaide

Adelaide is a perfect example of a city that operates on less than six degrees of separation. This can be quiet disconcerting to a newcomer from a larger city, and takes time to adjust to. Quite often, I don’t recognise people on the street that I know, simply because I’m not used to seeing people I know when I’m out. Nowadays, if I attend any event in the Adelaide area, I can expect to see one or two familiar faces.

When starting life in a new country, there are always cultural differences to get used to, and some take a bit more flexibility on our part. It’s very easy to complain about the frustrations we face when we move overseas, but it’s sometimes not so easy to recognise that the obstacles can be eradicated largely through our own effort. With so many immigrants coming to South Australia on regional visas that require one year of work in a two-year period in order to obtain permanent residency, adapting to a potentially different way of finding work as a result of what some would term Adelaide’s incestuous nature is a must. Joining up to social groups, professional networking organisations, and even interest groups is a perfect way to meet people as well as begin to make connections with others who may provide a link to potential employment.

Even with the best networking skills, it is still important to remember that patience is an important virtue in situations such as this. It will take time to settle in, find a job that suits you, and in the meantime, you may simply need to be content with less materially. It’s a perfect time to use those networking opportunities to build the skills and lifestyle you always wanted but never had to work as hard for before!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

60 Years of Australian Citizenship

2009 marks the 60th year of Australian citizenship. This may well surprise you, unless you are up on your Australian history, but up until 1949, Australian citizenship did not exist and those living in Australian were British subjects. According to the Australian government:

“Before 26 January 1949, the status of Australian citizen did not exist, and people born in Australia were British subjects. The legal concept of Australian citizen was created on 26 January 1949 with the enactment of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948,…”

I’m not entirely sure what we’ll be doing for Australia day this year but I assume it will include some form of bbq, beer and fireworks.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs...I Hope

I spent last weekend applying for 4 jobs I was very interested in. Now hopefully I will get at least two interviews. The way things seem to go here, that would make me happy. Just about 1/2 an hour ago, I saw that another of my dream jobs (or a job that would have potential to take me to my dream role) is up for grabs. Wish me luck people! And don't ask what the job is, as I have a feeling I might jinx myself.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

90 degrees in the shade

Well, actually it is 90F/32C degree in the house. It's probably 100F/40C in the shade outdoors. I did desperately try to find some people to hit a cool pub with after work today, to no avail:( So here I am, sitting in my hot living room, curtains shut and sweating it out.

Monday, 12 January 2009

The Importance of Quarantine -or- How Australia got Rabbits

On arrival into Australia, you may wonder why there is a cute little dog walking around baggage claim sniffing everyone’s luggage, or why the very last step before exiting customs is having your bags x-rayed. If you happen to forget that you have an orange on your person and are mercilessly charged a fine of $200 because you forgot to tick the box on the landing care which states that you are carrying food, you might feel outraged, but it is all for a reason. Australia is an island, and as such, has a frail ecosystem, which can be devastated by things you might find ridiculous. For example, I bet you didn’t know that within 20 years, 24 rabbits stripped bare 2 million acres of what was once a lush landscape. Well, I shouldn’t say 24 rabbits, as it was initially 24 and of course, as rabbits do, they multiplied. If only quarantine had been in effect back then the rabbits would have been shipped right back to England and/or kept in cages to avoid irreparably damaging the land. Have a look if you don’t believe me:

1859
Thomas Austin of Barwon Park near Geelong in the colony of Victoria imports 24 rabbits for sport.
1865- 1866
Over this two-year period, Thomas Austin reports he and his guests have killed at least 34,000 rabbits in sport. Austin and adjacent landowners enjoy the sport of rabbit hunting so much they ask for legislation to protect rabbits.
1872
Rabbits are in plague proportions in the eastern states, eating out pasture. Landowners petition to make destruction of rabbits compulsory.
1887
In NSW from January to August it is estimated that 10 million rabbits are killed.
1901
Following a Royal Commission, the WA Parliament decides to build a rabbit proof fence.
1910-1918
Over the next 8 years, rabbits move further west - past open gates in the fence, under the wire where soil had been eroded away and through holes torn in the wire netting.
1935- 1937
Rabbits are in plague proportions.
1950
The contagious disease 'myxomatosis' is released. The disease only affects rabbits and is transmitted by mosquitoes. The disease kills millions of rabbits and halts the rabbit explosion.
1956
A new poison - '1080' (ten eighty) is introduced. 1080 is relatively harmless to native animals and it adds to the effect of myxamotosis. Eradication of rabbits looks possible.
1968
The European rabbit flea is released as an alternative carrier of myxomatosis, due to low numbers of mosquitoes in WA and Tasmania.
1996
Rabbits still thrive. A new highly infectious disease - 'rabbit calicivirus disease' is released at Cranbrook WA on 18 October.
2002
Although combined use of myxomatosis, 1080 poison and rabbit calicivirus disease seems to be effective in keeping rabbit numbers down, rabbits still cost Australian farmers more than $600 million every year. Research continues into other methods such as fertility control agents.

Preparing for the Heat

Back at work Monday after a productive and enjoyable weekend, the last action of which was getting the house ready for the impending rise in heat up to 100F/40C tomorrow. Last night there was a cool breeze outside, so we opened up all of the windows about an hour before going to bed in order to cool the house down as much as possible, then went through shutting all of the curtains so that when it begins to heat up outside today, it won’t also heat up inside. This is what you do when you have no air conditioning. We have a couple of freestanding evaporative fans which will be coming upstairs tonight, but that’s the extent of our cooling capabilities.

Upon the conclusion of the movie we were watching, we closed the windows retired to bed and popped on the tele to find the cricket on, much to my joy (ahem, read the sarcasm there please). Aside from my idea that cricket is simply the slower, more boring and un-improved precursor to baseball, I haven’t much opinion on the game, or any knowledge of what is going on. Well lucky me got a short lesson in cricket from Steve, as he was keen to keep watching. I was told that it was ok, because this one was only a 20 (overs) and not a 5-day game. From what I’ve gained through my cricket lesson, it is a game based upon 2 batters, wearing mattresses strapped to their legs (Bill Bryson’s words, not mine) run back and forth between sticks while the pitcher (or bowler actually) runs at them, then hurls a ball in their direction. It’s a bit of a combination of hockey, lawn bowls and baseball, and while it still sounds boring overall, I might be inclined to go to a game sometime, as there are supposed to be lots of meal breaks;)

As I said, we’d closed the windows before bed, or so I thought. I was quite pleased when we got to bed at a reasonable time, because as I do not sleep well at all in the heat, I figured I’d at least get a good rest and begin to the week. I woke at about 2am to gale force winds and a breeze coming into the room and thought, crikey, there must be a proper storm coming! After waking up a couple more times throughout the night, I prompted fell asleep straight after hitting snooze this morning and felt exhausted. I mentioned to Steve about how windy it was and he said: “Oh, that’s because I left the guest room window open overnight.” Resisting my urge to strangle him, I mentioned that it has kept me up all night and also that as we have no fly screens (another household project) the curtains would have been blowing out the window all night…the new curtains, that is. One must wonder how men survive on their own.

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Beach

Steve and I had our first proper beach trip in Adelaide Saturday. We chose Semaphore, which of the few beaches I've seen since arriving here, is my favourite. Glenelg is nice though trendy and touristy and Henley was just a bit dull and uninspiring. When I say it was our first proper trip to the beach, I say so because we were both actually suited up, laid out on towels, and at least one of us got into the water. We have entirely different attitudes towards all aspects of beach-going. I don't go in the water, for the most part, and if I do decide to step in, I rarely get in past my waist. There are a few reasons for this, all of which are related to a healthy fear of those things which might kill me;) Over the past few weeks, we've had more than a few reports of shark sightings nearby, and if that isn't enough to keep you out of the water, rips and currents (actually, I think they're the same thing) should finalise the decision to stay warm and dry. There are plenty of advertisements, both on the television and at the beach, to swim between the flags. It's a fairly narrow area on a huge expanse of beach which is actually monitored by life guards. The day we were there, said life guards were all sitting in a group under a tent quite a ways from the beach, and I didn't see any of them watching through binoculaurs, or even keeping a close watch on the swimmers at all, to tell the truth. It took an effort to get Steve to move from where we had originally located ourselves down to the flagged area in the first place, so I hope it actually would have made a difference if he did get into trouble. Typical Aussie, he insisted he didn't need to swim between the flags, or worry about sharks and rips. And when he got out of the water, he refused to re-apply his suntan lotion for our last 20 minutes or so before leaving. When he got in the shower Sunday morning and saw the slightly blotchy, red patches on his back, I had to read the directions on the lotion bottle to him about re-applications after swimming before he would let up on his insistence that he couldn't possibly be burnt as the suntan lotion was waterproof. No such thing. Slip slop slap....