Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I can't be bothered to re-size everything at the moment though, so it is what is it is for now. It's so much better than the awfulness we had to look at before and for that I am truly grateful. Ha!
After today I think I might be interested in doing some digital scrap-booking. I had a lot of fun! There's enough free stuff online to get me started....could be worth looking into. I LOVE photoshop (my only real hobby) and have dived into researching photo editing more than anything else lately but it's nice to do some more creative things with textures and distressing that I haven't done in a long time as well. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I always have a good time in that program. :) Now that Chris is doing a lot of photography, I've been thinking about investing in Adobe Lightroom as well. There's a lot of things I've been wanting to try in there that you *can* do in Photoshop but are given pre-sets in Lightroom so it's that much easier. It could be exciting!
Okay, okay, I admit that I actually do get it. You want attention. You think the guys are gonna be drool because you don't wear a bra. I have to break two things to you; 1. they don't want to take you home to momma, they want to take you home to bed. If that's what all you're interested in fair enough, that's definitely your prerogative. I wouldn't have thought wearing a bra would stop a man from taking you to bed...but I digress. The second thing I think you should know is that running around without underwear on isn't exactly commanding respect from anyone, male or female. You're degrading yourself to a piece of meat and it's neither cute nor classy. Men will picture you naked even if you're wearing a push-up and a turtle-neck, why not leave a little something up to the imagination??
Put a bra on for crying out loud, your boobs will thank you in 20 years.
What’s worse is that Australians are, on average, more passive than Americans. So if I step on someone’s toes here, rather than them just calling B.S. they will make an ever so subtly passive aggressive comment and laugh at the end of it as if something’s funny. I stand there confused….are they trying to be funny or are they trying to say something else?? I want to ask “is there something you aren’t saying?” But then, if they really were only making an attempt at humor, I’d only make things awkward for both of us instead of just for me. But half the time I think that I really, truly, possibly could have offended a friend or acquaintance and they are just too passive to spit it out and say so. I want to apologize but don’t know if there’s anything to apologize for. Asking if I was rude would only be insensitive as my faux pas would seem bleedingly obvious to them and asking about it would either make me extremely ignorant or even ruder than they’d previously thought.
Truthfully, I am extremely ignorant in these cases. Especially any time I make a comparison between America and Australia in front of Australians, and some Aussies get REALLY defensive. I only compare because I find it interesting, not because I’m trying to explain why America’s better than Australia. There are heaps of things that Australia is better at than Americans and vice versa, I’m not trying to start an argument when I say those things. Sometimes I feel like putting my hands in the air and just letting everyone else do all the talking. This could prove to make me a much more likeable and less controversial person overall don’t you think? It’s probably annoying for some people to hear me comparing all the time anyways….but that’s what’s going on in my head. It’s a coping mechanism of sorts; cataloging the differences so I might better understand them. It helps me to learn about myself and learn about Australians. I’m going to try to keep my mouth shut from now on. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed or looking back on a conversation and cringing because I said the wrong thing. I could be like Other Wybie from Coraline, you know the one that doesn't talk? Ha!
It honestly feels like the first day of high school every day. You know when you walk through the doors and are floored by the hugeness of it all and are searching the thousands of faces for one that your recognize? And then you spend the whole of your freshman year jumping from group to group trying to find where you belong, that if you say the right things they’ll give you their phone number and we’ll all go to the movies Saturday night. Only it’s worse because I feel like I’m the only freshman in a school of juniors and seniors, where everyone’s older than me and knows more and has done it before. Where everyone has their friends and their routines and doesn’t really need or have time for another face. It’s exhausting. Where do I fit in? I feel a bit lost. Maybe I try too hard. I want to belong.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I'm getting pretty active in my goal to lose weight and get healthy. It's going to become a BIG part of my life so, if you don't find me posting as often in this blog here, there might be something new going on in my weight loss blog that's consuming my attention or thoughts. Just a heads up if you didn't know about it. :)
1. How often do you wash/change your sheets?
Almost never. (judge me if you must :P) I don't think about it. They have to actually start looking dirty before I think "Oh yes, the sheets." Since we don't have a drier, washing the sheets means we go without them for a couple days. What's that you say? Buy another set of sheets for washing day? Scandalous. ;)
2. When is your birthday?
February 9, 1987
3. Have you ever met a bloggy friend in real life?
Assuming that I hadn't met a blog friend prior to writing our blogs? No. I'm not at all opposed to it though. I met my husband online and several other friends as well. They're just people!
4. Brad Pitt or George Clooney?
Neither. Too O.L.D. for my taste at 23.
5. If you could change one thing about your body what would it be?
My weight. It's getting really unhealthy, like REALLY unhealthy. I plan to change that myself though...as far as things I can't change that I wish I could? My shoe size. I wear a size 12. I don't want to hear any "Oh I know what you mean, I wear a size 10 and can never find shoes!" Really? Yeah. At least they MAKE shoes in your size. I don't even have Payless anymore....anyone want to send me some cute pumps?? hahaha
6. How often do you wash your hair?
Maybe once or twice a week. If it starts getting too greasy I'll rinse with some water, but I pay too much money for my color to wash it down the drain. lol
7. Do you have pets?
2 cats, Ender and Bean. Ender is a Maine Coon and lives in Texas with my parents now. Bean is a black domestic shorthair and lives with us here in Queensland.
8. How many social networks do you belong to..if you had to give up one, what would it be?
I have accounts set up on Blogger,Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Xanga, and Live Journal. I haven't been on Live Journal since maybe 2004 and the Xanga wave gave way to the Myspace Wave so I'd completely abandoned my Xanga by mid 2006 when Myspace added a blog function. Then the Facebook wave came when they opened it to anyone instead of just college students and I abandoned my Myspace by late 2008. Twitter came around and I checked it out but still don't really understand the point...and then I joined Blogger to keep in touch with my fam and friends when I moved. So...even though I haven't been on some of those for years, a lot of them are like a catalog of memories; old messages sent, old journal entries made and so on. I don't really use Twitter at all so I'd have no scruples deleting it even though some of those sites I haven't been to in years.
So, did you learn anything? ;)
Monday, February 22, 2010
I love time travel books. I think if I ever wrote a fiction novel, I'd want it to be about time travel. The idea just fascinates me. The rules in this book are a bit different than in others I've read in that there's a complete absence of the whole Butterfly Effect panic associated with meeting your former self in the past or your self-to-be in the future. It runs with the idea that everything only ever happens one way and so everything is the way it is. You can't change anything. It's kind of a pre-destination sort of thing that doesn't entirely make sense to me. Because they say, in the book, that you still have the freedom to make choices, but you will only make a choice once. For instance, you choose to read this blog. The idea is that, no matter how many times you come back in time to try to stop yourself, your future self would be blocked from doing anything to keep you from reading this blog. You've made the choice to read it, and so that's the way it will happen every time. Any person from the future is incapable of intervening. It's like instead of the analogy where the whole of time is like an infinite piece of string, the past, present, and future all exist at once. Your present is the past of your future self and your future is the past of an even later future self.....so even if a past you goes forward in time to intervene with something, in their mind, that hasn't happened yet, it HAS happened to an even furthur future self so say, if someone was meant to die and you were trying to prevent it, no matter what direction you come from to try to stop it, past or future, it will happen when it's supposed to happen the exact way it was meant to happen and you'd find yourself incapable of intervening in any way because things are what they are.....
Very very lengthy explanation, but I thought it was interesting enough to share. I love speculative/science fiction and really encourage everyone to read this book. ha.
I'm a victim of What Not to Wear in that I am VERY aware of how I look at all times these days even if I wouldn't have been in the past. While college might be a bit early to be worrying about these kinds of things, ANYONE (not just women) should seriously consider their appearance before going anywhere, even the grocery store. Unfortunately (and since we don't live in a society of blind people) you WILL be judged you based on how you look, like it or not. You can stand there indignantly in the middle of the produce section in your sweatpants and XL jersey shirt, but people will judge you all the same. Maybe less so than they would have 60 years ago and perhaps more than they would 60 years from now but fashion is always going to matter. In men and in women. Either you can conform to social norms (i.e. look presentable all the time) or act out against them (i.e. wear your running shoes when you're not running) people are going to judge you either way and you will change absolutely nothing either way....just sayin. At the end of the day, it doesn't take ANY more time to throw on a pair of jeans and a cute top with a pair of sparkley flats than it does to throw on your sweats and tennishoes (maybe less without all that lacing of the shoes and the whole socks thing.) So what's the big deal? Make an effort. When you run into your boss in the bakery, you might be glad you did.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
SO, about Fiji. Chris and I have talked about it and we think we could def afford to go......but the smart thing to do would be to stay home. We keep doing without at home while we travel around going on mini vacations and, even though we have everything we need at home, there's lots of things we want that we've been doing without because of it. Soooo we could go to Fiji. Orrr we could buy a couch and a new t.v. and a dryer and a dishwasher.... Yeah. I think we're going to be staying home. Yes, we might miss Chris's cousin's wedding but I think it's smart to just invest our money in ourselves at the time than to keep splashing out on trips constantly.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Chris talked to some people at Fellowship Church a couple months ago about how much he enjoyed the Christmas eve service and talked a bit about what we're trying to do out here and they sent us a bunch of resources for free! SO nice of them! We have 4 sermon series on dvd and a book that's meant to address just about any question you'd ever think to ask when starting a ministry. That was really exciting to open yesterday. When Bill and Stella leave for a few weeks next month, we're going to play Ed Young's sermons they sent as the message. It should be a nice change of pace and, hopefully, we'll all learn something! I think Bill is beginning to understand that we all have a passion for keeping this church alive with or without a pastor and have plans to try and make it the best place possible with the purest of intentions. I think that, with that knowledge, we can all become comrades in raising up the congregation as a whole and making it an all-around better place. I just pray we keep moving forward and don't have to close the doors.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I had a bit of an interesting morning. An older couple, Bill and Stella, have stepped in as interim leaders of our church. Neither of them are pastors as it turns out there aren't many people studying in the Uniting Church to be ministers anymore...it's rather sad how many congregations are having to close their doors forever. It feels like the church is dying. :( I don't identify as a follower of the Uniting Church's doctrine and, in fact, I disagree with a lot of things on that front...but how unfair that even this congregation here in Moranbah is fighting every day not only to find a minister who is willing to come to this rural area but to keep people interested and filling seats on Sunday mornings. For now, we are existing and have a lot of big plans for this place. Between the time our last pastor left and Bill and Stella arrived, Chris and I did a lot of encouraging and ramping up with the remaining members. We commited to pumping up the worship and having those who are musically gifted in some respect to give their talents so that we might have consistent leadership in worship which will inevitably lead to the congregation not having to worry about trying to figure out the melody of a song or the specific lyrics but to just give all they have to give in the worship.....
Bill likes hymns. He also likes songs written in the 60s and 70s in the style of hymns. He says that the modern songs are too hard for the congregation to follow and that we need to keep things simple or else they won't participate. ...... .............. Okay. In short, modern music is hard for Bill to follow and makes it hard for him to participate. I tried to explain to him as politely as possible that many members of the congregation have been expressing their wish for us to sing some more up-beat and modern songs. So I really pushed for that in a meeting with Bill today and he's handed over the charge of music to me. Great. :) So I've chosen a balance of contemporary worship songs and upbeat hymns in hopes this will please him. We plan on having a musos rehearsal on Wednesday evenings starting next month and at that point, whether Bill agrees or not, we will all be choosing the music amongst ourselves. I hate to say it, but Bill may or may not be here in 6 weeks and we ALL will be, so I think it's fair that we continue with our worship as we'd originally planned....and hopefully I haven't stepped on any toes. I felt kind of tense there for a minute when I was trying to explain to him why we don't sing as many hymns and why young people find it difficult to make the connection between the words and their lives...it was difficult to explain because he was completely and entirely baffled that a person could exist who wouldn't easily have an emotional connection to every hymn. I did the best I could. I'm really looking forward to when Beebs gets home in a few minutes and I can talk to him about what I said and whether I should add or take away anything next time...... streeesssss....
Monday, February 15, 2010
That said, Chris and I were really enamored by our last visit to Sarina. The view:
Sarina is a small town about 40 minutes outside Mackay (which, I promise you, is extremely close by Queensland standards.) We're going to start looking into buying a block of land there. We're not experts, but we expect property values there to rocket up within 5 years as it becomes more developed and, since we know that is where we'd definitely want to live if we stayed in this region, it makes sense to go ahead and secure a plot now. We wouldn't develop the land until much later, as origionally planned, but we don't want to miss out because we waited too long! Suffice to say that the development in Mackay is going to leave some people feeling crowded and lead them to move to Sarina which has developed into quite the little town itself. 7 day trading, breath-taking views, 15 minutes from the beach, only a short drive into town and cheaper property than Mackay. If we want to visit Brisbane, it's only a 90 minute flight from mackay and, if you plan enough ahead, can be as cheap as $100 round trip.
It's been my dream for as long as I can remember to have a few acres, a nice country home and room for some horses. I don't know if I'll ever be able to have the horses (I don't know anything about them anyway. ha!), but I think this would be a beautiful place to settle down and get as close to that dream as possible. The real shocker? You can get a 5 acre plot in Sarina for about the price you'd pay for a 715m² plot here in Moranbah. You gotta LOL at that! Anyways, it's just something that we're talking about at the moment. We wanted to pay in cash when we built a home and haven't actually saved much yet, but I think it would be worth it to secure a block at a low price and borrow the money than to pay out of pocket and have to settle for a house in the city or in a housing division.
Just for fun, while I'm "playing house," this is the floor-plan I've always really loved:
That's all just for fun and just some things we've been talking about lately. :) We're still REALLY excited about our new split-system a/c the rental agency is installing, that really was the highlight of our week. We also are talking about planning a trip to Fiji at the end of May to see Chris's cousin get married (and to go to Fiji!) They have a special all-inclusive package with reduced rates for their wedding guests, we just have to evaluate costs and whether it's something we can do right now. I think that if we get a cheap dishwasher instead of the flashy one I want we could easily afford the trip, but we still have to sit down and look over the packet once Chris's mom gives it to us and see what hidden costs there are because, at this point, it all sounds too good to be true!! I'll keep y'all posted. ;)
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Land of red dust plains and summer rains..
We spent a couple days at the beach house but didn't actually get to do much beaching. The first day the beach was closed due to jellyfish and the second day it was only POURING rain all day! We did get to catch up with Turtle and Ash and little baby Ezra though which was tons of fun. :) Every time we drive out to Sarina I am just blown away by the beauty of Queensland. I feel especially blessed and privledged to have so much beauty from the rolling green hills dotted with squares of sugar cane paddocks and lychee bush fields to the purple mountains lining the horizon there's just so much to take your breath away. And then you stroll down to Sarina Beach where it's deserted (exept for maybe 1 other person about 300 yards away) and there is just ocean as far as you can see...it's quite possibly the most beautiful place I've ever been to and I get to live here. :) Part of me feels sorry for the Australians who never get to be a part of this Australia, where their world is full of sky scraping buildings and you can't move two feet on the beach without toppling over someone it makes me wonder if they'd ever bother to take a trip up here to appreciate their country's natural beauty? Yeah, it's inconvenient out here and you don't have access to every shop and privledge like you do in the capital cities...but I wonder if they could even appreciate a place like this for what it is. I wonder if the people who grew up here can even appreciate this place... That's just something I've been chewing on. :)
Chris booked us into a suite at the Mercure, where we had our wedding night, for my birthday! I had a pampering pedicure that afternoon and was treated to some new makeup before he took me out to a nice dinner at a place called The Church on Palmer. I was really impressed that a place like that exists in Mackay, you can tell they've really made an effort there to turn this old church into a nice restaurant and, while the decor was a little rough around the edges, the food was top notch. The only complaint I have is that my prawns came out with their head and legs still attatched even after I asked if they were peeled specifically because it REALLY FREAKS ME OUT when my food still looks like a bug......and so I subsequently (and embarrassingly) froze up when the waitress told me I'd have to cut their heads off. REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!????!!!!! These things still had eyeballs. I couldn't look at them and in the end Chris pulled their heads off for me...i don't understand why the chef couldn't have done that before they brought out the food. Next time I know not to ask if the shrimp is peeled but to ask if it is headless and legless. Yeah, I may sound like an idiot but I just can't do heads and legs on my plate. Sorry! Other than the leggy debacle, the meal was amazing. :)
The next day, my American birthday and official date of birth, we spent the day browsing the mall, taking naps, eating food and then went out to Satchmos at the marina for tapas. YUM! Much more my speed than the french food the night before and there were even churros for dessert. woot!
The immigration peeps emailed me and my application is processing! I just need to submit a background check to them since I've spent more than 12 months of the last decade in Australia (cool!) and then my application should be complete...I think. That's all they asked for. They didn't mention for us to schedule an interview or for me to get a health check or anything like that so hopefully we don't get a separate email later on asking for those things. It'd be pretty annoying for them to not just let us know off the cuff... but whatev. I'm just glad everything's under way! It can take up to 6 months for this thing to process which is, pretty much, a beating. But the last one processed in less than 8 weeks with an avg. processing time of 6 months so hopefully it won't be too long.
Okay so if you haven't been updated recently, I've decided against doing a hairdresser apprenticeship. I would LOVE to cut hair, but 3 years of learning is just too big of a commitment to one place before I even find a job cutting hair full time. That said, we aren't sure where we're going to be 5 years from now. It could be in Mackay or Sarina, it could be in Brisbane or Sydney, it could even be back in Fort Worth, we just don't know. So I'm going to play it safe and cover all my bases... what does that mean? Well, in Australia people don't really need university degrees to be successful in life. I've always said that the only jobs worth having out here are the ones in the mines and I've also said that all I really want is a job that will let me work when Chris is working and be home on nights and weekends. Just some normalcy...so I've decided to apply for the administration traineeship again this year. I was short-listed in 2008 which was a big deal but, because of my visa, I had to head back to the USA in the middle of the interview process and had to forfeit my chances. I'm going to go for it again this year! Applications come out in September and you start work in January or February of next year. After only doing a year of training, I could apply as a full time admin. assistant at any one of the mine sites around here and have a chance at making a good 6 times what I would working full time in retail here and I wouldn't have to work weekends or nights AND I'm guranteed 5 weeks paid leave a year when I find full time work as well as sick-leave. I might even get to work at the same mine site as Chris which would be more than cool. :) So that would pretty much set me up for doing admin. work anywhere we might move in Australia. To cover my bases if we move back to the USA, I need a degree. SO I'm planning on getting a bach. degree in communications from Open Universities Australia. Yay!
With me working full time, we could easily have more than $250k saved towards our house in 5 years time. Then we can buy/build a home, have a baby and live happily ever after. WOOT!
I'm sorry this update is so long, I just actually had something to update on for once. ha! If you made it this far, you are a true friend. xoxo
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Our garden is dying. :( That's pretty major isn't it? I think we're getting some fungus in the soil from all the rain. All of our petunias are dead but our Marigolds are doing almost TOO well and have pretty much taken over the garden. The Dianthus are struggling but have still pulled through. All the violets died which is a shame... It's been raining just about every afternoon which is GREAT for the yard, our grass looks awesome. I'm watching the news at the moment about all the snow expected in D.C. and mom talks about the ice Texas has had in the past weeks...It's funny. I was ready to get into the warmth by the time I left Texas and now that I've been in the heat for a couple weeks I'm just SO over it already and would like to be back in the snow. lol It would be so nice to curl up in front of the fire with a good book at the moment but we're just trying to pump some cold air from the back of the house ( there's only a/c in the bedrooms at the back of the house so we've got a fan trying to pump it into the front.) According to the thermometer in Chris's phone it is currently 86 degrees INSIDE the house. And it actually feels relatively cool compared to before we tried to pump some cold up here. bleh.
Chris is stealing me away. He has some kind of birthday plans for me but they are under wraps at the moment. All I kno is that we are going to the beach/Mackay until Thursday which means that I will only be able to check Facebook from my phone and, even then, will probably not be able to respond to messages and whatnot very easily considering I don't have one of those newfangled "smart phones" or iphones or any of it! So don't get mad. I won't be ignoring anyone, I just won't be home. xoxo ;)
I found out that Cairns is only a 9 hour drive from Mackay. I know, that's not close, but it's not like it's 18 hrs away or anything like I'd originally thought. It's definitely a distance we could cover in a day without much exhaustion...That's like DFW to South Padre, right? So, next on my travel list is going to be Cairns. I don't know when we'll actually make it out there but I really want to go! I want to see the rainforest there...I don't know. I just want to see it, just to go somewhere different. :)
That's all for now! Just a bit of randomness!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Okay, so I know a lot of people are annoyed at me for not updating straight away but, if I'm being perfectly honest, I just didn't feel like it. I'm sorry! I've been really busy organizing the second stage of the visa process and settling in. Before I knew it, a week had passed! I called mom on Saturday after my visa application was totally collected and in the mail, so hopefully she's updated a lot of people. If not, I'll update you!
I won't assume you know what a visa is, so let me explain. It's a document that allows you to live in the country lawfully without being a citizen or resident. It also allows you to work! My last visa was only for 9 months and expires at the end of this week. Being in the country without the visa is very very illegal and can come with big consequences hence why we were falling on top of ourselves to get the application out asap. I know, I know, it's all very last minute and I have lots of excuses but none of them are good. The good news is that our account was charged the processing fee yesterday which means that they have recieved the application and begun processing it. The only way they would have gotten the bank details is if they went through the application. Hurray! The fact that I had another visa processing prior to my current visa's expiry is pretty much my immunity to getting into trouble...I think. I won't get into it too much but I'm 89% sure that I'm good to go. Just in case I emailed an immigration lawyer ($25 a question!!!) to make sure. :)
Other than that, I don't have much of consequence to update on. I hung some new curtains (the Ikea Stockholm Blad ones in green) and they've instantaneously made a HUGE difference to our lounge room in a very good way. I've been watching the first 3 seasons of medium on dvd since I missed them....Chris has next week off from work but we're not sure what we're doing since we can't see Taylor Swift anymore :(. Today it is officially a week from my bday and I'm not sure what we're doing for that either.
In the mean time, embracing a more vegetarian lifestyle has been great! We do eat meat maybe once a week or every two weeks or if we visit someone for dinner and they've cooked meat (I mean, it's already dead and cooked, what difference does it make if it's in my tummy or in the garbage can, right?) But we haven't bought steak or chicken breasts or anything. I've learned that tofu tastes just like chicken and is amazingly versatile and that if you eat an entire stalk of broccoli in one sitting you get very stinky burps. LOL Overall we feel really good about the difference we've made in our lives and the small difference we might make in our world. By lowering our meat consumption to less than %5 of our overall diet we've significantly lowered our carbon footprint, lowered our risk for diseases, and have stopped contributing to the death of so many animals. Do I think that Farmer Joe is going to stop producing meat because I stopped buying it? No, but at least I can say with clear conscious that I played very little part in whatever it is he does on his farm and that is definitely good for my spirit. :)
That's all for today!