My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Mon
4
May '09

Costco in Melbourne “UPDATE”

30 May 2009

Well, my friend Dawn (also from Cali) was driving down the freeway a couple days ago and saw that Costco now has their roof!  It’s almost time to open, only a month to go!!!

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4 May 2009 

It’s a miracle, the new Costco is coming to Melbourne and their office is open!  We went today, took a train and a tram down to the Docklands where the new Costco is being built.  It is near the big observation wheel (that is currently out of commission) and the new shopping centre at the Docklands.  I can’t even say how exciting it was to think that the store is opening here.  I had a chat with the staff in the office and they tell me that we will definitely get all the same products INCLDUING eye glasses, tires (here called tyres), photo lab, etc.  Produce and meat will be sourced locally and things like the bakery will be internal.  I’m really looking forward to some good options.  One thing about Australia is that because there are so few people here they miss out on “selection” there’s one kind of mouthwash, three kinds of toothpaste brands, we’re just missing out on so much!  So, I am happy to say WELCOME COSTCO to Melboune, our first Australian store! 

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Open 7-days a week, the store at Docklands is at the observation wheel tram stop from 9am – 6pm.  Get your card today!  YAY!!!!

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Just being built, the store opens in July 2009!!!

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Observation Wheel at the Docklands
Thu
21
Aug '08

I’m Official!

Today I received my official paperwork in the mail from the Department of Immigration, I’m now a Permanent Resident of Australia. This means that I can come and go as I please, and that in 2-years time I can apply for my Australian citizenship (dual citizenship).  I’m very happy about this because it takes so much work submitting documentation to the Department of Immigration, it’s finally over!

Birdie and I have been so ill since our return, he passed on his Sinus Cold to me the day after we arrived home so I have been suffering with it this week, and even Birdie isn’t quite over his cold just yet.

I’m working now on getting all the photos from the trip posted to the website for everyone to see.

Get updates via email

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***

Mental Status: Still sick so recovering, otherwise just tired.  Also staying up late to watch Olympics.
Favourite thing this week: Extra sleep, and cold medication.
Book this week: The dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Happy Moment: Receiving my Permanent Residency Visa today!
Looking forward to next week: Hopefully starting work.

Sun
30
Mar '08

Balloonatics

Day Two: Balloon over Melbourne

17.jpgWell, we woke up at the crack of dawn… I mean before the crack of dawn to drive into the city and meet up with our Balloon driver.  We got to take part in the ‘filling-of-the-hot-air’ and the preparation for our flight.  Once we all jumped into the basket – and there were me & Rod, Adam & Mom, Rod’s parents Barb & Chris, and two other couples, plus the driver – we took off.  It really wasn’t scarry at all, and I’m afraid of heights!  It never felt like we really left the ground. 

I can’t believe the sights from up there – we rose to about 1,500 feet in the air and got a great view of the city at day break.  We were also the first of 6 balloons taking of from this point in the city as well, so we got to see each of the other balloons take off from up above.  We passed right over the city, we could see the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Telstradome, Flemington Raceway, the Eureka Building (tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere), Rod Laver Arena (Australian Open), couple golf courses, some parks, and an overview of the city – its quite large. 

Mom and Adam seemed to have a great time and we all got tons of pictures.  Here are some of my favourite and you can see all the shots from this balloon ride from the Photo Album page.  Click on any of the pictures below to take it to it’s own page, then click on it once more to enlarge.

4.jpg 8.jpg 7.jpg 16.jpg 27.jpg 18.jpg 14.jpg 19.jpg 29.jpg 42.jpg

This afternoon we are having a BBQ with family and friends to welcome my Mom and brother to Australia.  Check back for pictures after today.

On schedule for tomorrow…

Tomorrow we are visiting the Healesville Sanctuary Zoo and having lunch at our wedding site: Kellybrook Winery so Adam can see where we got married.  Keep checking back for more fun pictures during their visit this week.

***

Mental Status: Having a great time with my family! Still on a high from the balloon ride this morning.
Favourite thing this week: Looking forard to some fun events…. can’t say – the itinerary is a secret!   Shhhhhhhhhhhh
Book this week: I’m not reading this week as I am on holidays.
Upcoming events: Healesville Sanctuary, and my favourite – feeding the kangaroos by hand.

Sun
17
Feb '08

The Movies: Gold Class

Typical of me, seeing a new movie every week – my husband really obliges my need to go to the movies and so I have resigned myself to a new segment of writing reviews on my blog.  Fair enough, if I’m seeing all the movies first I should put the word out.  In general I like most things I see and we vary from horror, thriller, zombie & vampire, comedy, sci-fi, action and adventure.  I don’t normally ask Birdie to come to see “chic-flicks” so many times if there is one I really want to see I will call a friend or go alone.

goldclassseats.jpgIn an effort to try new things Birdie is taking me to “Gold Class” at the cinema today.  Gold Class is a very posh upscale theatre that has plush recliners that lay all the way back, a table between the two seats and a chiller for your wine or champers.  They have a full menu that includes dinner and drinks.  It looks pretty cool, and it ain’t cheap. Oh, and there’s even a button on your seat to call for the waiter at any time throughout the movie. 

Today we are seeing Jumper starring Samuel L. Jackson, and Diane Lane to name a few. The plot: A genetic anomaly allows a young man to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between “Jumpers” and those who have sworn to kill them.  After the movie today I’ll finish my post, rate it and tell you what I thought.

Lainey’s Movie Review 

JUMPER 35stars.jpg

I really liked the premise of this movie, it was a great idea for sure.  Samuel L. Jackson delivered as he always does, however, I felt that the plot was lacking when it came to ‘follow-thru’.  The action began almost immediately but it was missing the back story to make the entire plot somewhat believable – well at least believiable enough for a sci-fi movie. There was just a big black hole in this movie and it felt unfinished at the end.  Diane Lane makes two very very short appearences in this flick and she definitely did not deserve to be in the top billing. I give this movie 3-1/2 stars basically for plot and action.  It was enjoyable but left me wanting more from the ending.  Still a great flick, however maybe best as a rental.

The Gold Class was quite an experience, we got there a bit early and was greated by the staff who served us a couple cold imports.  We were taken through the menu and how serving works.  Essentially you pick your choices from the menu and you can have drink and food delivered at three different points in the movie. First service was in the first :30 minutes of the film, second was in the second :30 minutes (middle), and then a final service one hour in.  We had entrees delivered which were quite good – lamb kofta, peppered beef pave, vietnamese chicken with dashi dipping sauce, spring rolls, cajun prawns with mango salsa, this with a couple more beers.  And about half way we had a large popcorn and cokes delivered to our table. The staff walk you to your seats and show you the “call button” where you can order throughout the movie, and how to recline the chairs, etc.  Quite good fun and although it is a bit pricey we enjoyed the experience of it.

***

Mental Status:Feeling good this week, counting down the days until Mom & Adam’s visit
Favourite thing this week: New friends Ash & Trish came to dinner, had a great evening.
Book this week: 7th Heaven by James Patterson
Upcoming events:Jason Mraz concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 18 March, our Easter camping trip is 20 March, and Mom & Adam arrive 29 March.

Sun
11
Nov '07

Surfers Paradise in beautiful Queensland, Australia

There’s something about Queensland that I love so much.  Maybe it’s the relaxed atmosphere, or because it’s lush, green and tropical, or maybe because of the beach with fine sand and crashing waves.  Luckily I’m on the 16th floor of the Holiday Inn Surfers Paradise – and I have a great view of the beach and the tall buildings that line the boardwalk.  There are quite a bit of shopping here along the beach, including Louis Vitton, Tiffany, Rolex, and Gucci. Refer to my map of Australia to see Queensland. 

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It’s a beautiful little city, and with a name like Surfers Paradise you just can’t stay away from the long and lovely beaches. It’s been a bit overcast so far, but with daylight savings I am sure to get some time in the sun. Although I’m working this week here, I have a great view from my hotel room of the beach and tall buildings that line the beach. As you can see from the 16th floor I have a wonderful little view of the ocean, and it’s just a hop skip and a jump to get there:

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The beach here has the finest sand, and because of the wind this weekend you can’t help but get sand in everything – your shirt, your bag, your pants.  I haven’t dipped my foot in the water yet but I think it may be a bit cold – at least due to the warm humid weather. There is a ton of shopping and outdoor cafe’s serving everything from Greek and Italian, to Aussie pub food. 

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During yesterday’s Cricket match against Sri Lanka I found lovely little restaurant called Euro between the two very large apartment buildings in Surfers’.  You can see these identical buildings in the picture above on the far right.  Between these two buildings is a very large flat screen TV, about 6-7 restaurants, with outdoor seating under umbrellas. Here I had lunch Saturday with a couple beers and watched the Cricket game where Australia held the upperhand resigning after only four wickets with 500+ runs.  It was a good game – and with a beer, I don’t mind watching.

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***

Mental Status: Missing Birdie this week.  He is working on getting a couple days off to come and see me so we can go to Movieworld and have a nice day together.  We’re shooting for next weekend.  I will be here on the Gold Coast for three weeks.  Tomorrow will be the start of week 2.
Favourite thing this Week: Going to see Lions for Lambs tonight!
Album this Week: Made of Bricks by Kate Nash
Song of the Week: Birds by Kate Nash
New Book: The Jane Austin Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Mon
14
May '07

Praying for Rain

Amazingly enough, Australia is a country although surrounded by water – faces drout and water restrictions on significant levels.  Water restrictions are in full force here and what that means to us is that there’s no watering the lawn of flowers in the garden – absolutely no hose, can’t wash your own car, people are encouraged to use low-flow shower heads and take less than three minute showers, and there are government rebates for purchasing your very own water tank where home water (wash, sink, shower) is recycled into the tank and is reused for the garden. My kids will never run through the sprinkler on a hot summer’s day.  But it’s more than this, drinking water is a constant worry for the future, but the government is seriously considering one option, although it will free up more water for drinking, isn’t something that’s going to put a dent in the Australian drout.

The answer is Sewage?

Treated sewage, which will be used for irrigation of parks and gardens, agricultural/ horticultural irrigation, watering parks and recreational areas, some industrial processes, and toilet flushing and garden watering in suburban dual pipe schemes. But will this be enough? How can a country surrounded by water even think of this as an option? Especially when there are viable methods of recycling sea water through desalinization treatment in order to provide clean and potable water appropriate for drinking as well.  What’s behind this decision? Is this the right choice? Or a cheap replacement for the real thing… a solution.

Currently the Eastern Treatment Plant, located in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne where I and another 1.5 million people live, treats the sewage for re-entry back into the ocean after filtering and treatment. If approved, in 2010 this plant it will double the amount of recycled water recorded in 2004.

Regardless, I hate to see the government taking the easy way out instead of working toward a more useful desalinization plant (converting sea water into drinking water) and thinking about the future of Australia and Melbourne in general to help with drout relief on a large scale for future generations – a solution instead of a quick fix.

Website of the Month

I’m going to start with a website of the month here as a blog segment. This month I’d like to introduce a span of websites that are out there on the web that you may or may not have heard of.  Photography, art, near you, familiar scenes… for me it’s Melbourne Today which is a daily blog of photos from my town. There’s probably one in your town too. Check out Melbourne Today and then google your own city or scroll down the page on Melbourne Today and see the list of other beautiful cities around the world.

***

Mental Status: We’ve had a crazy couple weeks, we are just chugging along. Mothers Day was wonderful, spending time with Birdie’s parents and I had a nice time speaking to my sister-in-law’s Mother as well Bronwyn. I was also happy to speak to my Mom this week and wish her a Happy Birthday and a Happy Mothers Day.
Book Reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, an Australian writer, but the book was handed down from my Mom – who always loves to work on my problems.  *Smooch*
Favourite Thing Today: My friend Marilyn in Dallas sent me a link to the alumni/reunion website for my high school in Houston!  Thanks baby!  I’m registered.
Favourite Thing this Week: Saw Spiderman 3 with Brent & Mel. Movie wasn’t my favourite but our night for dinner and a movie was great. Also thanks to beautiful Mel for the potted Tulips for our Anniversary – they are beautiful.

Tue
24
Apr '07

Its Official!

FINALLY I IS GRADUMACATED!

Actually, I can remember when I started taking classes online. I never thought this day would come.  I’m so proud to announce I have completed my graduate degree in healthcare management.  I hope to be applying my new-found degree to a new-found job by the end of the year. Funny thing is that my skill set has been progressing over the years of taking courses and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I have always applied new concepts and knowledge into everything I do. Finally, my goal has been completed. And now I get a new little string of letters after my name:  BSBM, MBA/HCM

A COUPLE NEW THINGS ON THIS SITE 

One cool thing I added recently, to the sidebar on the left, are the Australia East Coast clock as well as a U.S. West Coast clock. This way you can see the differences in time when you visit. Time is night and day… literally!

Also, if you look on the left sidebar you will see this block called “Pages”.  This is where you will find things like “The Story of Two Birds” basically Our Story, all the photo albums that correspond with the posts on this site, and something New! is the World Clock. On this page you can click on any area of the world and it will tell you what time it is there.  Very cool. Have fun and check it out. 

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Another new thing coming soon will be our weekly podcast, we’re working on some good things to talk about on a regular show – and we hope you will tune in and enjoy hearing our bantor on things, from our lives to life in Australia, and more. You will be able to listen to our new pod show directly from this blog!  We look forward to having you along on our new journey!

BRENT’S 30TH BIRTHDAY

Our young buck turned 30 this week, we are so happy to see another friend of ours move into the thirty-somethings. I told him congratulations but he still kept demanding he was only 29.  I understand how you feel Brent-y, my Mother still says I’m 29 for gawd-sakes. You’ll get over it… she has. We had a great time, drove to the city for Brent’s birthday and had drinks with a heap of friends at the Swan Hotel in Richmond. Overall we had a very nice time with Mel & Brent. Brent drank a lot, and Mel sported a new haircut (posh!)

brent_n_mel.jpg      lainey_n_mel.jpg

OTHER NEW THINGS

We’ve decided to go back to working out.  God knows I could use a daily workout. But this time we are doing the home gym thing. Birdie is really excited about being able to work out night or day and he’s been really looking forward to not having to leave the house to go do his workouts.  He also plays on a basketball team twice a week, so there he get’s a good hour of cardio.  I walk at work but will probably start walking at home as well. I’m sure Birdie is going to whip me right into shape.

Our first wedding anniversary is coming up in a few days and we are really looking forward to having a few of our closest friends over for a celebratory dinner/BBQ on Sunday. Soon Birdie and I are hoping to jet off on a short camping trip to the Cascades, just the two of us – we hope to have pictures of all of this and more.  Check back soon!

REGISTER TO THIS SITE

I know you’ve been saying to yourself “geezo-peezo self, I love laineybirds blog so much but I have no idea how to leave comments”.  Well listen up you – you should be leaving comments.  I mean you come here all the time and read this damn blog.  It’s not like we’re having a special night out to celebrate with everyone but you and your wife!  So register by clicking Login at the bottom of the sidebar on the left, in the box called Admin. Start commenting today.

Smoochy-poo-poo

LaineyBird

Mon
11
Dec '06

Day a the Healesville Races

My horse lost…can someone pass the glue?

Birdie’s Cricket Team sponsors a trip to the Country Races each year and this year we went to Healesville. Healesville is a country suburb of Melbourne about an hour away. We packed up the Cricket teams and their families and headed off to the country.  Folding chair… check. Slab of stubbies… check.  Stubby holder… check. Okay, eveyone on the bus!horses1.jpgWe had a good crowd this year even though we had quite a few pull out at the last minute. It was the hottest, most sweltering summer December day yet (doesn’t that sound so funny).  It was 36 degrees (celcius) somewhere in the neighborhood of a 99 degree day with 110% humidity and a slight warm breeze. Knock wood we were under a very large tree. I was lucky enough to be able to bring my new visiting American friend Claudia, from Boston, to experience the races and the heat. Overall we had a nice day.  My best buddy Melinda and I put together a hugh feast of dips, sandwiches, prawns, fruit… oh yeah, and tons of home brew. The race season is a time to dress up in your prettiest dress and matching hat or fascinator (feathery-thing for your hair) and go out to drink champagne all day with your friends and bet good money on horses that run in circles. The whole party aspect of it is nice but the races don’t last too long.  We had a good crowd and had an excellent time this year.  Kudos to St. Davids Cricket Club!

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Lainey & Birdie

To see all the pictures from our day, see the photo album 2006 Healesville Races in the albums listed on your right. 

IN OTHER NEWS

Only 10 days left till we leave for the States. We are getting very excited for our trip and hope to be making stops to see everyone!   

Special note for Americans: A Stubbie is a bottle of beer.

Fri
11
Aug '06

Jason Mraz in Concert

Show at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Melbourne

[From the ‘Shaunna Jomes Appeal’ Foundation]

This show was worth waiting for.  It’s been four years since I met Jason Mraz in an Oregon benefit show with John Popper.  Mraz has come a long way and he is better than ever.  Apparently his first show in Melbourne was back in March of this year, this show (7 August) was the Mraz trio doing songs old and new – phasing in and out of old classics and capturing the audience.  Jason is really funny and has a great stage presence, he had the audience singing along with one song about ‘drinkin a forty’.  Everyone singing… nobody knowing what the hell a forty was.  Hilarious.  Thank gawd he explained – it got a real laugh. (Oh Shaunna, it was sooo fun!)

Rod and I got some pizza before the show and saw the bongo/singer Toca out with his family for dinner (a few tables away). We didn’t interrupt but I was pleased to see they were just hanging out down the street from the theatre. I believe it’s a bit different here being a new act and all, they aren’t so recognizable just yet. I always love to see this incredible trio, the sound, the vocals, the fretless bass!  They promised to be back soon and I’m looking forward to seeing them really hit it big here.

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The acclaimed “adult contemporary” Mraz trio.

I admit I get a little star-struck when I see Jason, he’s actually a really nice guy.  Meeting him and John Popper back in 02 was a highlight for me.  They promised to be back soon and I’m looking forward to seeing them really hit it big here.  I can’t wait!

Immigration Status

Well, another week and things are moving along quite well.  I started with filing our paperwork and paying our $2000 fee to file. Paperwork includes but is not limited to the following list (all certified copies):

  • Birth certificates (both);
  • Any/all marriage and divorce certificates (both);
  • Full copies of passports (both);
  • All military records, discharges, etc.;
  • Two statutory declarations by Australian Citizens on my character (which is
  • bviously sketchy) and the validity of our relationship;
  • Police clearance from last city I lived in U.S.;
  • FBI clearance;
  • Australian Federal Police clearance*;
  • Full medical: physical, blood tests, x-rays*;
  • Bills from the last year showing we reside together and share responsibilities;
  • Lease in both names;
  • Evidence that we share financial responsibility: joint accounts, credit cards, loans, etc.;
  • Postmarked letters addressed to both of us;
  • Verification of past addresses for 10-years;
  • Each write a separate letter of how we met and our intentions;
  • Proof of contact prior to the 1-year required living together: phone bills, mail, email, etc.;
  • Photos/photo album (I supplied a copy of relevant blog/journal pages);
  • and of course our applications: Rod as a sponsor, mine as the applicant.

It’s been quite an ordeal but after we submitted our application (with all above attached), but about two weeks after we filed we got a letter from the “Family Residence Section” of Immigration to come in for our interview (9 August). At this interview we met our caseworker (who will remain nameless), who turned out to be a real awesome guy. I had a few sleepless nights prior to the interview, but I think he really got us – it went well and pending my medical results and Aussie Fed report, he says we will be approved in no time. 

So what happens then you say? Well, I am granted temporary residency for 2 years. At the 2-year mark I will have another interview, with a new caseworker, and if all is well (i.e., in a valid relationship/marriage) I will be granted permanent residency. Two years following permanent residency I can apply and interview for Citizenship (dual citizenship). It is a long process but it will be well worth the wait.

What’s coming up…

Our friends are getting married on 2 September: Di & Erik Erdmanis.  And we’re throwing a big Halloween bash, costumes and all at our house on Friday the 13th of October!  Halloween is not a big holiday here in fact kids don’t dress up at school or go out for candy.  And most of our friends here have never been to a costume party in their lives! I’m looking forward to the band playing at the party, as our first gig was cancelled due to the sponsor.  We’re working on more material and hope to be out playing soon.

Christmas plans and other new stuff

Mmmmm.  Well, we’re planning our trip back to the State for Christmas.  We’re lucky enough to have Rod’s parents join us for Christmas they will be travelling with us on the first 10 days of our 30 day vacation. We’ll be with my Mom, grandmother, brother & his wife in Sacramento from 22-31 December.  We’ll spend 4 days in Chico/Paradise, then jet down to Vegas for another 4-days with my cousins Kimmy & Chad (and baby Gwen), 3 days in Los Angeles to see Lola, and my cousin Dan, and then to end in San Diego for our last week with my brother Adam, and wife Jill, as well as a visit with my best buddy Candace (a.k.a. CandyAss).

I know I have a new car and all but the price of petrol (gas to you Yankies) is sky high here, quite a bit more than you pay in the U.S., so I have taken up commuting to work and back on the Train.  It’s quite good if just for the fact that I can read on my way to work 1-hour in each direction rather than yell at people for driving on the wrong side of the road. I’ve finished the whole series of Dan Brown books (DaVinci Code, Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress). I loved Angels & Demons a lot, second favourite is Deception Point. Now I’m reading the new novel compilation “Thriller” edited by James Patterson. The compilation is 30 authors of short-story anthology of thrillers by the organization International Thriller Writers, Inc.  It’s quite good so far. If you like this sort of thing (murder mystery-ish) it gives you in insight into several authors, how they write, their genre, characters, etc., through a short story about 10-20 pages per. I’m one that’s stuck on just a few authors (James Patterson for one) and this gives me a real opportunity to find some other authors I like. So far I am most impressed with Lee Child, an English author, and I hope to be picking up one of his books after I finish this quite bulky novel.

This weekend Heather has invited Dawn and myself to Flinders for the weekend.  Unfortunately Dawn is sick but Heather and I are going anyway – a girls getaway of sorts.  At Flinders Heather & Blair’s parents have a home, where we will be visiting.  I hope to take some great pictures to share from my weekend. Check back next week for the details.

***

Mental Status: Weary. Need a rest.
Song: Remedy – Jason Mraz
Favourite Thing Today: It’s Friday! Leaving in the morning for Flinders with Heather.
Favourite Thing this Week: Well, Mraz of course… and seeing our friend’s Mel & Brent’s new house (we were the first visitors!) – it must feel nice to be home owners.

Mon
6
Feb '06

Tuscon Elite S

New Car = Lot’s of Insurance

It is true.  They gave me a new car here in Australia.  I didn’t say it was easy gettin it but it is mine mine mine.  V6, AWD, side airbags, sun roof, and metallic aqua-silver paint… it’s a sweet ride.  Wanted to share a great photo in the driveway of my baby girl.  Thanks for those of you who have emailed me your congratulations on my new car – it is quite a feat taking on car payments these days but I’ll have to say that having a new job sure makes it all worth it (literally).

***

Mental Status: I’m a drivin fool. Weekend is here – rest is required!!!

Song/Band of the Day: Low – Kelly Clarkson

Favourite Thing Today: Wedding shopping.

Sun
15
Jan '06

The Putnam County 25th Annual Spelling Bee

My First Theatre Experience

Mum and Dad took Rod & I to the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of the Putnam County 25th Annual Spelling Bee yesterday.  It was a great musical production and had a great cast.  I know this shows on Broadway but if this show comes to your town, you’ve gotta go check it out!  Hilarious! Thanks Chris & Barb for showing us such a great time.

Click here for the Melbourne Theatre Company

Cast includes David Campbell, Tyler Coppin, Bert Labonte, Natalie Mendoza, Natalie O’Donnell, Christen O’Leary, Marina Prior, Magda Szubanski, and Tim Wright

Director Simon Phillips

Music Director Ian McDonald

Set & Costume Designer Dale Ferguson

Lighting Designer Matt Scott

Choreographer Ross Coleman
Music & lyrics William Finn,

Book by Rachel Sheinkin,

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman

Currently playing to standing-room-only houses on Broadway, THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE is the offbeat musical creation of Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn (Falsettos), Rachel Sheinkin, and Rebecca Feldman. This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst – tender and sardonic – pits 10 contestants (six actors and four audience members) against each other in a battle for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

Among the adolescent brainiacs are multilingual national finalist Marcy Park (Natalie Mendoza, Coup d’Etat), Putnam Basin district second runner-up Leaf Coneybear, Magna Magnet for the gifted and unusual representative Logainne Schwarzandgrubeniere (Christen O’Leary, Urinetown), last year’s finalist – eliminated for health reasons – William Barfee (Magda Szubanski in her MTC debut), newcomer Olive Ostrovsky and last year’s county champion Chip Tolentino.

Also on hand at the showdown are comfort counselor Mitch Mahoney, longtime local Bee hostess – and former champ – Rona Lisa Peretti (Marina Prior, also making her MTC debut) and Lake Hemingway-Dos Passos Junior High Vice-Principal Douglas Panch.

At THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, these young people in the throes of puberty, and their grownup supervisors who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

“Can you spell I-R-R-E-S-I-S-T-I-B-L-E? A riotously funny and entirely adorable new musical.”– The New York Times

“The best in town – that rarity of rarities, a super-smart show that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser.”– The Wall Street Journal

“This winning new musical is so generously warm-hearted, only the most bitter misanthrope could resist its charms.”– Variety

 

Winner:

2005 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical

2005 Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical

2005 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical

***

Mental Status: Frazzled, working on Immigration paperwork.

Physical Status: Feeling like I’m getting a cold.

Favourite Thing Today: Extra sleep and split pea soup.

Fri
11
Nov '05

A new podcast

Podcast

So, it seems like every time I make some progress in my persuit of Internet knowledge and advancement, i.e., blog… something else appears that I have to figure out again.  I suppose that’s what the Internet is all about – new advances. My brother has started a podcast.  And for those of you that don’t know what a podcast is – it’s a mini radio talk-show or radio show broadcast over the Internet.  I hope to add a podcast to my blog this year but right now I am learning from my Brother about Graphic Arts and web design.  I hope you can all take the time to tune in to this one, you can connect to the podcast through Adam’s blog at http://www.rookiedesigner.com and by clicking on the blog post title, you can download the most recent podcast. You can also subsrcibe online at Yahoo Podcast to get the podcast weekly!

Really, I have learned some things from Adam through his designer podcast, but truly it’s just nice to hear his voice! 

On the homefront

Looking for a new house is daunting because this city is just way too big.  We are looking for a house in the same area that Heather & Blair live – Because I don’t have a car, Heather tends to pick me up to do things a lot.  They seem to be our “equals” couple-wise so we thought it fitting to move closer to them at this time. Until we buy a house we will be on the lookout for a nice 3-bedroom in the Box Hill area.  We have less than a month to make a decision, so I will post the details and pictures here as soon as a decision is made.

Something New to the Blog

I’ve decided to add a little bonus info at the end of each post for you guys. And be certian that soon I will have a nice podcast for you to tune in with me.

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Mental Status: Less than acceptable

Exercise: None today

Song/Band of the Day: Everyday Victory

No. Jobs Applied for: 5

Drink of the day:  Red Wine

Favourite Thing Today: San Diego ballcap (wore it all day today)

Thu
13
Oct '05

Melbourne Top Ranked City

My New City

Melbourne has retained its position as the best city in the world to call home. Often derided as Bleak City by Sydneysiders, Melbourne topped a survey of 130 cities, narrowly beating out the other four Australian capitals surveyed – because its weather rated the best. Sydney lost ground because its crime rate was rated on a par with New York and London. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey ranked Melbourne, Vancouver and Vienna as the best cities for expatriates to live, with Perth fourth and Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney equal sixth. Geneva was ranked fifth, while Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby kept the title it took in the last survey in October 2002 as the worst. “Melbourne pretty much top scored in everything,” said survey co-editor Jon Copestake. “But the difference between all the Australian cities is minimal. One thing Sydney had different to the other cities was a higher crime rate, and it’s climate. Its level of humidity was worse than Melbourne’s.” The London-based EIU assessed the level of hardship for expatriates in the 130 cities, using 12 factors including housing, education, recreational activities, health, climate and terrorism. Cities were rated one to five in the 12 categories, with one meaning there was no hardship and five indicating extreme hardship. Melbourne received the perfect one in each category, including its unpredictable weather, to give it an overall score of one. The other Australian cities were all given a two for climate, while Adelaide also received two for housing; Brisbane and Perth scored two for transport and Sydney for its crime. Port Moresby received five for crime and an overall score of 80. While Perth was given an overall mark of 1.1, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney scored 1.2. The heightened terrorist threat only had a minimal impact on western cities, even those in the United States, largely because of newly developed security measures. The highest ranked US city was Honolulu in 19th on eight points, while New York was 51st with 16 and Washington was the lowest of 16 American cities in the survey at 57th, mainly due to a higher risk of terrorism giving it an overall score of 19. London was equal 45th, along with Los Angeles, Madrid and San Francisco. Kuwait fell the most places, dropping from 87 to 97 because of the war in neighbouring Iraq, while Harare suffered the greatest actual drop in living standards as a result of ongoing unrest and slid eight places to 118. The Iraqi capital Baghdad was not included in the survey.

Only Seven Days

Well just seven days until the cruise – I’m getting really excited and getting things together already!  It’ll be good to see Mom and to see the “family”.  Check in from Oct 24-Nov 1 for updates on the cruise and pictures from the boat and the stops! 

Thu
22
Sep '05

The Melbourne Show

What we call the State Fair

Today Rod took me to the Melbourne Show, similar to what we in the U.S. call the State Fair.  It was full of rides, exhibitions, free tasting of wine, cheese, candy, lots of stuffed animals to win, many show animals, and too many prams to count.  We tried to visit all the exhibitions and see as many of the animals as I could stand – it seems that all I have done since I arrived in Australia is ‘see animals’. There were upwards of 50,000 people there today (on a Wednesday afternoon) and it was completely too crowded.

 

Aussie Words American Translation
Pram Stroller
Dagwood Dog Corndog
Fairy Floss Cotton Candy
Chook Chicken
Bubs Baby
The “Lot” “With Everything” (Pizza or Burger with the lot)
Aussie Burger Burger with the lot plus egg, bacon & beetroot

Regardless of what anyone says, this was the “Greatest Show Ever!” according to our friends at www.royalshow.com.au and dont you forget it.  Stop in and check out the Royal Melbourne Show website and see what great things we experienced at this years show. In addition to the website I have pictures of our favourite things from the show in my photo album entitled Melbourne Show so check it out. The Paschkowiaks Look, don’t try to pronounce it, or spell it with your eyes closed, just know that the Paschkowiaks were a big part of my life growing up and have always seemed like extended family to me.  I don’t have a thought or memory of growing up in Spring, Texas on Pine Walk Trail without Ali, Karina, and Gunter. Ali, now known as Alix, was one of my best friends for the eight years she lived across the street from me and my fond memories of summer swim team, endless tennis, riding our bikes all over the neighborhood, playing until long after dark (ghost-ghost in the graveyard or kick-the-can) with the Keatings and Braunigs… geez those were fun times.  Alix and I were constantly playing our parents against each other with the “well, her Mom said it was okay” game in an effort to spend the night or go roller-skating in the afternoon. Overall, I am glad that we all got back in touch this week and I only hope that we have many more memories as adults.   Midterm Done! 

While I don’t have my grade back just yet, I am glad to say that my midterm is done and over with.  After this class I’m taking time off for the cruise and then back to my last Accounting class which is Accounting for Financial Managers – then back to the fun Business classes I love so much as I breeze through my last two semesters! Keep your fingers crossed for me to finish my Masters – it sure is a struggle.

Sat
30
Jul '05

A lesson in driving

On the wrong side of the road, I mean car, I mean road…

Seriously, driving on the right side of the car is no big deal, when you think about it the only difference is that you have to shift with your left hand (which is easy for the ambidextirious), and remember that your wipers don’t indicate that your turning any particular way.  Indicator and wipers reversed.  Just a few things to think about when driving. Basically just the pedals are all the same.

On the other side of the road, however, is a different story.  There are so many rules of the road that are completely different – let’s just say it’s been a challenge for me. I am driving daily, and legally at that.  With a US license you can drive for five years past it’s expiry date before having to get a Australian license. Figure that?!  Anywho… things are moving right along here.

I’m still searching high and low for a job that will secure my Residency here, and I’m on a good lead for a couple things. Rod and I are off to the Wildlife Sanctuary this week and I will be sending out some postcards to friends as well.  If you get your postcard, go ahead and post a comment here… I’d love to hear from everyone.

More pictures are posted, check the Albums for photos!