Sunday, September 28, 2008

We're Gonna Watch the Eagles!!

Just found out that the Eagles/Bears game which is on Sunday night at home will be shown here, Monday night at 7:30 pm. Whoo hoo...we're gonna watch some football! So no checking the scores over the internet tomorrow. Everybody now..."Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory..."

And while we're on the subject of sports, how about those Phillies?!! I can feel's going to be their year. And we're all the way over here on the other side of the world. Sigh. Good news...we will be able to watch every playoff game as well as the World Series live. Bad news...because of the time difference they will be shown anywhere from 5:00 am to 7:00 am. But if the Phillies are playing...I just may have to set the alarm a bit early.

Saturday O' Fun

Let me start by saying it was a busy week. I've started to volunteer several days a week in the office at our church here. On Thursday even drove home by way of Victoria Rd. Which means instead of driving home by way of the Harbour Bridge, I drove home by way of the Anzac Bridge. On the other side of Sydney. Meaning...I drove through the streets of Sydney from one to the other all by myself in Beast. I'm in the middle of the city at an intersection surrounded by skyscrapers thinking, "What in the world am I doing here behind the wheel?" Very surreal. But I made it home with no problems (if you don't count the slight balding of the sides of the tires that have continually scraped the sides of the concrete pillars in the parking garage as I make the what I would call hair-pin curves as I circle down and back up from 2 stories below ground.) Anyways, we woke up Saturday morning with the idea to enjoy the sunny, warm day. (Which is still weird when you are at the end of September and it's getting warmer.) We walked over to The Rocks and found a food market set up. Bought some bagels (finally found some in Australia!) and fresh flowers.
And look...we were serenaded by two members of the Oom-Pah-Pah band from the German restaurant, Lowenbrau around the corner (the ones in the loud red pants and the guy in the yellow shirt, who was playing a clarinet). We walked past this little French bakery that we've been told by friends from church has the most excellent pastries that you've ever had. Usually when we've walked by, it hasn't been opened (what is with the French?) but it was today and we went in, ordered a fruit tart for me and some airy puff pastry for Phil. Yummy!
We then walked over to the regular market at The Rocks. Bought a birthday present for Phil (who celebrates this Wed!) and a Christmas ornament. Over the years I've gotten in the habit of buying an ornament from every place we've ever traveled to for our Christmas tree. Lots of fun to remember where we've been, as I decorate the tree. (And's usually just me decorating the tree. Phil's job usually ends after wrestling the tree parts up the stairs from the basement and setting it up. I'm not OCD about where the ornaments go, he just doesn't like to do it.)

We then took the Manly Ferry over to well, Manly to walk next to the beach. After a quick lunch of Subway (love that meatball sub) we made our way to the beach. And man, was it ever crowded! I guess because it's school holidays here (they go year round here starting in Jan. then have 2 weeks off in March, July, and Sept. and then finish up before Christmas), and it was a nice, warm day, everyone decided to spend the day at the beach. Take a look.

And, a quick pic of the lifeguards at the beach. They always wear these red and yellow uniforms.
Later this week, I'll take you on a tour of India. Phil was there for a week before we met back up in Sydney. My favorite kind of tour...commenting on pictures that I didn't take and was not there when they were taken. Should be fun...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yeah...We Didn't Get Out of the City This Morning

Well, we both made it back to Sydney safe and sound yesterday morning. Phil in from India and me in 2 hours later, from the states. And I woke up at my usual 4:00 am this morning to confirm my changing of a bazillion time zones. My week of weird sleeping hours has once again begun. I would've been up, nice and early ready to leave for church, but as stated above...we didn't get out of the city this morning. Literally.

Today was the day for the annual Sydney Running Festival. 25,300 runners descended on the city for their choice of races- the marathon, the 1/2 marathon, 9km Bridge run, or 4 km Family Fun Run. 25,300 runners...seriously. Take a look.

Obviously the roads around our apartment were closed as well as the Harbour Bridge so we were city-bound for the morning. I'm happy to report that in the spirit of the day Phil and I did run...across the street to avoid the bus coming around the corner on our way to McDonald's for Egg McMuffins for breakfast. You can check out for info on the day, see how much was raised for charity, and even see our apartment building next to the Opera House in the first picture on the web page.

On a different know you're back in Australia when you pay this much for a can of hairspray.

Yes. That's right. The price was $7.95. I was forced to buy this last night at the drugstore (or chemist as they call them here) because I had taken my last can back with me to the states and forgot to buy some and bring them back with me. I literally felt pain to hand over almost $8 stinkin' dollars for a lousy can of hairspray. And it's not even a big can. You could almost call it travel size! So this afternoon (after the roads opened up and we could drive out of the city) we went to the mall to buy some groceries and get something to eat. I went to Big W (their version of Walmart) thinking I could buy my usual can of Suave at a much more reasonable price. Right.

First of Suave on the shelf. I ended up with Schwarzkopf Hair Styling Hairspray. Yeah...what? In my mind I pictured the general from the Persian Gulf War dabbling in hair care products. But...the sticker of Heidi Klum on the can recommending this brand convinced me. I mean, really...if it's good enough for Heidi, it's good enough for me. And well it should be, at $6.96 a can. Pain, literal pain to pay that much...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heading Back...Really, I Am This Time

That's right. On Thursday I step on the plane (then get off in Toronto, wait a couple of hours, and then step on another one and then step off in Vancouver, wait a couple of hours, and then step on another one and finally step off in Sydney. Thirty or so hours later. Sigh) to head back to Australia. With mixed feelings.
One the one hand...I've really gotten used to being back in the states these last six weeks. (Sheesh, has it really been six weeks?) I zip around town driving without the sweaty palms. Calm, cool, relaxed. And yes, singing loudly. Hanging out with great friends....talking, laughing, watching movies, catching up. Being with Sox. Seeing family...and just when did my oldest nephew grow taller than I am?? Sitting in church thinking I just love this place. And yes, eating Chick-Fil-A. (I need to admit though, with head bowed, I'm officially sick of their chicken sandwich.)
On the other hand...I really miss Phil. This living on two sides of the world is getting really old. What fun is living at home when my "home" is in actuality getting himself ready for bed in a hotel in India at the moment.
So...yes, it sort of stinks to be leaving here, but I'm looking forward to being back together with Phil. And seeing all of our friends in Australia. And getting back to daily walks around Sydney. And eating not-baked-but-fried apple pies at McDonald's. (bad but oh, so good.) And trips to Max Brenner's for some seriously good hot tea. And planning all of our travel adventures for the next couple of months...who knows...a trip to the capitol-Canberra (see, there's this really cool war museum there), Melbourne, the Outback (but isn't Ayer's Rock just a big ol' rock?), New Zealand, Vanuatu, and maybe even a trip back to the Barrier Reef...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bloke's Day in Australia

"Bloke"- the Australian equivalant of "dude" or "tough guy". It's like the wild west out here this weekend with the womanfolk back in the US. That's right- this is my truck. And yeah- that's mud that it's covered in (this after a few hours of rain cleaning it off for me).

This weekend, I decided to be a bit manly and take the truck out to the outback. Ok, it was really semi rural suburban Sydney, but for US standards, this was the outback...

The destination, the Settler's Arms Pub in St Albans, New South Wales. A town and pub older than Australia itself. The method- staying on dirt roads (and possibly illegally leaving those dirt roads from time to time...) as much as possible.

I made it out there in about two hours time. After going a bit north of St Albans to get a little more dirt trail riding in, I came back and grabbed some lunch at the Settler's Arms. This was a seriously cool old pub. It was basically the only building in the town of St Albans but for a few old houses. I was picturing St Alban's to be a small town with some shops and restaurants and a downtown area. Here it is:

That's right- it's really just a pub and a few houses. And a fire station that's roughly the size of my tool shed.

Here's the entrance and exit to the town to give you some sense of the majesty of this place:

And here's the obstacles to be encountered along the way (by the way, 10 bucks to the first person who can tell me what's wrong with this sign!!):

Now that my rugged weekend is over, the truth of the matter is, I'm really sick and there's nobody here to care.... So much for the bloke, he turned bleak!!

Tomorrow in honor of the Eagles (and BTW- I can't get anyone here to respond to "E","A","G","L","E","S"....) big 1st game win, we learn about the Australian concept of a punt...

What do you do when the road ends and the water starts- apparently you punt!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Uh... I'm Still in the States

That's right. I'm still here in the States. I know...what? Here's the short version of how this went down on Saturday morning. (Only because Phil has repeatedly said in the past that I'm very good at making a short story, long.)
Once we both got to Sydney, we would've had about a week and half together before Phil had to leave for a week in India. (And no, I have no desire to go there...have you smelled Indian food lately?) Nor did I really have the desire to stay in Australia by myself while Phil was away. Phil needed to make a trip to Manila and good ol' Singapore at some point as well, so he suggested that I just stay here while he combines all three of these places into one trip. (I know...this is a long story. See? I'm good at it.)
So...all that to say that I don't leave to go back to Sydney until the 18th of September. More time with friends. More time with Sox. Maybe another trip to Ohio to see the fam. And yes, more time to enjoy Chick-Fil-A. (I should really get a comp sandwich or two for all of this free advertising they get on my blog.)
I've already crossed off one thing on my "List of Things to Do While I'm Still in the States" list. I painted the downstairs bathroom. Chocolate brown. I like it! (Although the thought did cross my mind that perhaps chocolate brown shouldn't be the color of choice in a bathroom...I'm sure Rob will have one or two oh-so-witty things to say about it.) I've done much of the taping for the master bathroom as well and will probably paint that later this week. It's going to be a silvery blue color. And I may even finally get to finish stripping the paint off of my grandma's hoosier cabinet (I think that's what it's called) and refinishing that as well.
I know Phil is thinking, "Yeah, right!" at that one...that's the project that I said I would do when he left for a month on a business trip to Luxembourg... two months after we got married...eleven years ago. You never know...this could be the year.