October 2005

We are now into day 7 of Julie not smoking.
It puts an entirely new slant on “interesting”.
Forget about, “Do you wake up grumpy in the morning?” “No, I let her sleep.”
More like, “I let her sleep in another 15 minutes and it still doesn’t make any difference!”

Still, we made it to Floriade today. It’s Canberra’s huge annual floral display, with somewhere around 1.5 million blooms, all planted by hand.

From the other side of the pond.

From Melbourne.

Julie’s new scooter arrived. She hasn’t ridden it yet – it scares her. But we are both going on the mandatory Stay Upright course next weekend, so that will help.

I received news today that Doris’s left kidney recipient had died, although he and his family had been extremely grateful for the extra time that they had been able to spend together. He was the one who had previously had a transplant rejected and the report on him last year was that “he was not doing so well”, so the news didn’t really surprise me.

The quit smoking effort has been modified to one or two a day as necessary, which has dramatically reduced the need for temper tantrums. :o) Apparently they are starting to taste really bad, so we are both confident that she will eventually quit altogether.

Out and about in the hills near Canberra.

Heh heh.

Yesterday saw both of us on the all-day motor cycle riding course, which was great fun and we both passed. Julie only dropped the scooter once. Now all we have to do is to get lots of practice. Sorry, no photos – the day was full on and I really didn’t have time to go grab the camera. I’ll have to take one of Julie on her scooter and post it.

Julie writes:

Well it is thundering and lightning out tonight really loud so guess summer is on it’s way. Thank you Mom for teaching me not to be afraid of it while living in Spokane and thank you Jan for all the times I crawled into bed with you when we were kids!!!!!

I started my new job at CASA today and it will be okay. Just hoping to stay there for a while. My contract ends the end of Nov – but think it will be extended till at least next March. Will take my scooter riding with it for a while.

I have “Duncan’s 1st smile” as my background on this computer. Keep pictures coming daughter. I screwed up R’s old laptop completely by spilling coke on it. It is a goner, but he has fixed my old HP so I can use that one. I feel really bad about it and have moved any drinking glasses out of harm’s way. He didn’t yell at me which surprised the hell out of me. Lesson learned the hard way.

Not smoking is going okay though I’m not off them completely but down to about 2 a day. I’m making pumpkin bread tonight to take to “morning tea”. They have it every Friday so I try to bring American food thingy’s in. Pumpkin here is considered a veggie – not a dessert. Hope it tastes as good as it smells.

Cooking is getting better – I at least have home-made meatloaf and cooking fish down to an art. Thank God for the crackpot. Well just wanted to say hi. Luv to you all.

PS: It just started hailing. Interesting weather we are having and is chilly too.

Well I figured that I owed you’all a note on what has been going on down-under. 

Last night was very interesting as I don’t think I’ve ever been in a thunderstorm that has lasted from 3 PM to just about 3 AM.  It is tropical season here now – and thankfully we are getting rain also.  Rodney has said that we’ve gotten more already then last year.  It was really cool and the sky just lite up.  Danger of fires though, so all are watching very carefully.  We went out to dinner as I had to work late and watched from the restaurant  Blew my diet with a wonderful Seafood Pizza and very decadent dessert – we shared though.  Kelly was very wet when we got home as he loves the water.  Datsun isn’t so silly – stayed under cover and was nice and dry.

Several weeks ago, we went to my American friends Anna’s in Bungendore to help them build a retaining wall.  They have built a home there and it is way out in the boonies  They had to build a fence to keep the Roos out.  They are doing most of the work themselves – including putting in floors, etc plus yard work. She is from California, has a 3-year old son named Joseph and has been married for several years though she has only lived here a little over a year.  Her husband is named Charles and is an interesting combination of Aussie and Islamic.  He is a physicist (Professor) at one of the Uni’s (college) here.  His mother lives with them and her name is Latifa  She is 75+ now and had a very hard life from what little Anna has told me, and does get around though she can’t stand up straight and walks at a 90 degree angle constantly.  To put it tactfully – she was married to a traditional Islamic and had 5 children in a few years and the only good thing her husband did was move them here.  She never got the treatment for damage done that he would have!!!!!  She can’t speak English very well either but tries to help as much as she can and is a wonderful lady.  When we went out there, we took the puppies with us and they thought they were in heaven cuz of the “freedom to run free”.  They didn’t nap all day and were so tired when we headed home that evening – the Datsun couldn’t even do a Wooooo Wooooo Wooooo in the car.  Kelly fell asleep instantly in the back seat and Datsun tried dogfully to stay awake.  It was funny.  Now when ever we open the car doors – they jump in  hoping to go back I think!!!!  Couldn’t get them to jump in before that. 

Anna and I are going to do Thanksgiving together – the whole hot meal thing.  We will do it on the weekend though.  She has a beautiful kitchen!!!!!!

While we were there, I discovered just how out of shape Rodney and I are.  I have very little upper body strength and have gained a few pounds, so am working on that.  Regarding the military – I think I’ve pretty much given that idea up even though I did get an IMA position in Korea.  My recruiter is AF in Japan but my POC is Army in Korea.  He is new to the position and I’m sure doesn’t care about “this AF troop” too much right now.  He doesn’t even respond to the MSgt in Japan.  I will give it another go by trying to get in touch with him after Christmas, but……  It is very frustrating as I and my recruiter worked for over a year to get this position, but you can’t make Army help AF.  If nothing by March – then I’ll just kiss everything good-bye.  It’s just not worth the stress.  Not sure if I’ll try to contact the IMA department in Denver or not.  We’ll see how I’m feeling.

Work is going well and I like my “new” job at CASA.  I was moved here by my boss as she feels I’ll have a better change of being extended as a contractor here then in the previous position.  I’ll know more by mid-Nov and am hoping to be extended until March or June.  Cross fingers and pray for me.

Well Rodney and I have a new toy to play with.  When we sold my car (I wasn’t driving it as can take the bus to work and it was just sitting in the driveway), Rodney agreed to let me have a scooter.  I have always wanted one since seeing the ’60’s movie “The Singing Nun”.  It is a little one and you can see what it looks like on bugscooters.com.  I got the Jive which is only 50cc’s and goes 70 kpm.  Just something I can tool around on.  We went to Motorcycle school last Saturday.  It is a requirement here and lasted from 8-6.  Canberra is very strict on riding here.  We passed and got the certificate.  I learned on a scooter but Rodney actually did the motorcycle and yes I was the only one to drop the stupid thing!!!!!  We have 3 months to get a learners permit or will have to take the course again (and pay for it).  Then we have 2 years to practice (or sooner) to get a provisional license, then we practice some more but with less restrictions THEN we can get the actual license.  Helmets are a requirement and they have to pass Australia rules – no importing. Stewart and Rodney are talking about buying a motorcycle together.

Rodney’s oldest son Simon got some good news.  He has gotten a new job in Perth, with promotion and pay raise.  He and his fiancée live in Melbourne right now.  They will be moving the end of Nov.  This will be the 1st time Lisa has lived away from her family and friends – so figure this will make them or break them.  Melbourne to Perth is like Seattle to New York.  They are both excited right now though.  His other son Paul and his Lisa are doing great and so is their baby girl.  We are flying up to Melbourne the first weekend in Nov for a visit.  Haven’t seen any of them since the baby was born.

Christmas is just around the corner, so want this weekend to make your Glugg recipe (yes we now have a link to the recipe for all those people who have been looking for it) to give as gifts here.  Most have never heard of it.  Also will do goodies too.  Baking is not too much of a problem for me here but try and explain Karo Syrup to an Aussie – though cooking is still a challenge.  I don’t know how you all do/did it, meaning plan a good different meal each night.  I have no imagination when it comes too that.  There are lots of things I’d like to try – but finding the “correct” ingredients can be tough.  I do miss the selection that the US grocery stores have.  What was it I was looking for yesterday – oh yes, – pickles.  They have them but only 3 choices!!!!!  We are going to compromise the way Christmas done.  Instead of a hot meal – they have cold ones and nibble all day.  (Some families do the hot meal, but not very many.)  I am still going to make the crab soufflé – it tastes just as good cold.  We will do Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve.  It will be fun to combine all of our Christmas stuff.  I haven’t the foggiest what Rodney has but vice-a-versa.  We also will have a tree – fake though but that is okay.  We will be sending two packages the 1st week of November hopefully.  One to Dad and Mom’s and one to Jan’s.  Obviously I’ve gotten some of the gifts, but some I’ve ordered haven’t arrived yet – that may have to go in a separate package to you.

Halloween isn’t celebrated here – but will wear my glowing cat earrings and have a little “spooky” thing to put on my desk.  Will be better prepared next year.  Am going to down-load some Halloween music to play at work that day too.  Hee, hee!!!!

Don’t know what the moving situation is yet.  We’ve heard nothing from the Agent.  Rodney is waiting till the end of the month (only one week left) before really looking (have scanned newspapers though).  Will let him and Stewart do most of the looking as I couldn’t tell you what a good “suburb” to live in was or where it is!!!!!  I will have a say this time though.  Kinda hope we don’t have to – am tired of moving.

Well need to get back to work.  Spring is here so everything is turning green and they have some of the most beautiful flowers here.  If you can – check out the website for pictures (Dad please print some out for Mom).  It again is fiddaman.info.

Take care and will keep in touch

Part 47
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