Saturday, December 31, 2005

happy new year...almost

there's less than 7hrs to 2006! its freakin' hot out! its currently 43C. the only time i've ever felt 43C was once in the desert in california but most of the time it was that hot we were at a resort laying around the pool or in the airconditioned villa we were staying in. i was planning on riding the 15kms or so from our house up to zac's mum's this afternoon but then we found out public transport was free so i decided just to ride the km or so to the nearest station instead. i somehow managed to get lost doing that though (i figured out where i went wrong later). i decided to ride north a bit and then turn to a station along that way. i realized after going several blocks or so that i was going the completely wrong direction becuase the train line turned back at the station i was originally intending on going to and the line began running east from there. so i turned east at that point intending to take the first street south and just end up back at my station after a bit of backtracking. next thing i know i'm taking my chance to ride down a biggish hill on the eastbound road (i needed any "coolish" breeze i could get). i finally decided to turn down south knowing i'd eventually hit the train tracks and be able to find a station by following near them one way or another. i managed to get right to a station-- just after the train left. so i guess i got a bit of a bike ride in anyway. i actually don't mind biking in hot weather but it was a little ridiculous today with a HOT wind blowing in my face almost constantly and i think i burned the tops of my feet (i was wearing flipflops). i'm sure that its hotter than 43C on the roads too with the pavement taking in all the heat and the horrible car motors giving off a ton of heat. now i'm enjoying a nice cool house before heading off to celebrate the new year with a bbq (wouldn't wanna be trying that for new years back home).

Friday, December 30, 2005

photos.... finally

zac's sister and her boyfriend delivered our new computer a few hours ago so now i can finally post photos on my blog, download all the stuff on our camera onto the computer and do lots of internet stuff that would take way too long with our old computer. here's a couple photos:

here's zac's second cousin on christmas day. i think the outfit might border on child abuse but he was kinda cute.

and of course me and my buddy ray

Monday, December 26, 2005

funny photos

i just found some funny photos on the canada club website:

Friday, December 23, 2005

where's the change?

its almost 10:30 pm and its gotta be in the mid-20s still (it was around 36C today i think). its kinda funny listening to christmas carols right now and sweating through my thin summer clothing. the cool change was supposed to be here by now (i guess melbourne weather predicitions are rarely accurate anyway though so i don't know why i decided to take the channel 10 weather guy completely seriously anyway). i can't go to bed though until the change comes cuz it'll just be too hot and uncomfortable-- i'll just wait up for ray and give him some shelter when the cool change and probable rain actually comes. 8) i think i'm gonna go light some citronella candles (to keep the mozzies away) and sit in the backyard to wait for the change (and maybe make some more vegan egg nog while i wait).
i got the recipie from one of my favourite cookbooks (i can't remember what its called but its something to the effect of 400 vegan dishes from around the globe). its really simple:
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy ice cream
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp dark rum (optional)
blend in the blender or food processor and then sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg on top once you pour it in glasses (it makes 2 nice big glasses or 6 regular "eggnog" cups)
it tastes just like the "real" stuff from the cartons in the grocery stores back home (they don't sell it in grocery stores here and most people have never even tried it).

Thursday, December 22, 2005


i have a new little buddy. his name is ray. he's a little black cat that lives a couple houses down from us. we always see him when we come home late at night and he usually comes down to the footpath or sometimes he's waiting around our yard for some attention. last weekend we noticed him eyeing the front door while we were petting him in the driveway so we decided to open the door and see what he'd do. he just walked right in and made himself at home. he went through each room and rubbed himself against all the furniture claiming it as his own and then settled in the lounge room for a pet. it was kinda cold and windy that night so we felt bad that he was outside but we decided we had to put him back out. i went for a shower and zac said he kept hearing ray pawing at the front screen door and crying to come in so he let him back in and we let him hang around for a while before pushing him back out the door. the day i got doored we didn't get home from the e.r. until late and i took a look for ray and called him but he didn't come so we went to bed. i was laying there having a lot of trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep when i heard a jungle of ray's bell outside. i went to the door and called him and he came in like it was his house. that was just what i needed then was some cuddles from ray-- and he was very happy to sit on my lap and have his ears scratched. it was good too cuz i think he understands that he's just visiting and when i took him to the front door to put him out again i just opened the door and he left and i didn't hear any cries or his bell the rest of the nite. last night again i heard ray's bells outside and called him in (i think this is going to be a routine for the next month or so since i can wait up late for him cuz i'm not working). this time i decided to try a vegan cat food sample on him. we've had the samples a while (hoping we'd get a cat and hoping it would like the food so it could be vegan). zac was very doubtful about any cat liking vegan food. i found the plastic package and waved it infront of ray's face. his eyes lit up and he eagerly followed me through the house to the kitchen where i cut open the package and put some on the floor for him. he went nuts over it. so that proves it-- cats can like vegan food. we're giving the rest of the sample to a friend to try on his cat. hopefully gunther will like it too (but unlike ray, gunther thinks he's better than everyone else so he may take one look at the food and then look up at gary to ask him why he's being fed crap).

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


i got doored by a car while riding my bike home from work yesterday. i've kinda been waiting for that moment to happen. i've had several close calls and most of our friends have been hit by opening car doors while cycling. i don't remember much. just all of a sudden a door swung infront of me as i'm riding in the bike lane next to a row of parked cars and the next thing i know i'm trying to stop myself from sliding along the pavement on my arm. i didn't have time to swerve, hit my breaks or even yell. the woman who hit me seemed more shaken up than i was at the time. she gave me her details and said she'd pay for any bike repairs or medical expenses. by the time i got home a few minutes later it started to hit me. the grazings and giant red bruises on my arm were growing bigger and i had a bump on the side of my head from my sunglasses banging on the side of my head as a fell (fortunately i was wearing my helmet-- i looked at it this morning though and there's not even a sign of a scratch or dent on it). i called zac at work all shaken up. he was supposed to be working until 8pm (it was just after 5:30 when i called him). he got worried and said i needed to go to the hospital and have my wrist xrayed. i was too upset to hop on the tram and take the 10 minute trip the hospital and zac knows i don't really like cabs so he managed to get a hold of one of his bosses at home and get permission to leave and take the work car to come and get me. so he drove 45 minutes through peak hour trafffic (it only takes him up to 30 minutes by bike) and got me and took me to the e.r. when we got there the reception nurse expained that they had a lot of doctors on duty but not enough beds (they were working on a couple people in the waiting area). she said that cuz i didn't need a bed a doctor would probably be available to look at me soon but it may take a while before i could have xrays done. 20 minutes later someone came and took me for xrays and then told me to go back the the waiting room and wait for the doctor. we figured it wouldn't be much longer now cuz the xrays were supposed to be the long wait. 3 1/2 hrs later a doctor came for me. nothing is broken (just a couple of gross looking, really sore red bruises and grazes). i got a tetnus shot out of it though. i also missed out on the most interesting moment in the waiting room aparently. zac said while i was in with the doctor a guy came in wearing a zebra costume (without the headpiece) and a woman came in wearing a weird looking cocktail dress with long gloves on her arms and holding a cigarette on a stick in her hand above her head. all i got to see was a really drunk guy (3 times he was dragged in by different people over the 4 hrs we were there), a lot of older people who looked really sick or in pain and a little girl with a broken arm that they sent off to childrens hospital cuz they were so overloaded at the e.r.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

perfect timing

i'm listening to a dirty three album right now. its a band that does mostly instrumental songs with lots of violin, drums and guitar (among other instruments). we're going to see them play in a few weeks. we saw them last year about this time and it was amazing. it was at an outdoor weekend long festival in the country. we arrived at the property early friday afternoon to find hot dry fields of people, tents, cars and vans. during one of the first bands of the day the predicted rain storms started. it didn't take long for all the fields (and especially infront of the stage area) to become mud-- i gave up on wearing shoes at this point and just walked around barefoot in the mud the rest of the weekend. saturday, the rain eased up during the day but storms started up again in the evening. (cars were bogged everywhere by this point cuz people were still arriving late friday nite and saturday morning). dirty three were playing saturday nite. the lightning storms hadn't eased up but zac said it would be worth it to go down to the stage area (we'd been listening to a few bands thru the radio from our dry car). it was definately worth it. everyone was dirty and soaked but the band was good-- the best part came near the end of their set when they hit an epic note at the climax of the song and just as they hit that note a HUGE flash of lightning filled the sky all behind the stage and the thunder boomed (i'm sure the lightning probably hit a tree right on the property we were on). it was amazing! don't think it'll be quite that epic this time we see the band (considering it's in a small pub and even if there's a storm and lighting strikes in perfect timing with the song there's no windows for us to see).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

christmas-y day

yesterday was just like a vancouver/victoria december day (except a LOT warmer). it actually started to feel like christmas. i really like the nice hot christmases i've had here the past 2 years but i definately doesn't really feel like christmas. yesterday i woke up to gray skies and drizzle. it didn't really clear up at all in the morning so i decided not to do the errands i needed to do and get all wet. instead i found my favorite christmas cd and put it on then lit all my vanilla candles and oil burner and turned the christmas tree lights on. i started doing all the christmas stuff i needed to do (digging though my box of recycled wrapping paper and ribbons to wrap the one gift we've bought already, making christmas cards....). when i got to work the kids were all practicing their songs for their end of year sing (it includes a few christmas songs) so it still felt really christmas-y. that ended when we sat down for lunch though and the boy next to me was getting more of his muffin on the floor than in his mouth and then just turned and let a huge gob of spit drop down to the floor. at that point i got him the dustpan and brush and a rag for the spit and told him to start cleaning. of course he decided to put on a great little show of "sweeping" the muffin crumbs all over the place and the kids at his table thought this was hilarious (as soon as he actually finished sweeping the mess up he was moved to a table far away from his friends with another staff person at it).
the day ended pretty good though. on our way to serving at a street soup kitchen there was a big rumble of thunder and the rain started immediately after. we managed to serve about 6 people plus ourselves before it started POURING. me and another girl crouched down under the serving table to eat our wet meals before we all decided to just hide in the van. the rain didn't ease up so we decided to pack up our now very wet food (the friut salad and asapagas were now swimming in bowls of water) and we got very wet in the process. another storm passed through a couple hours later and we sat on the back step watching the lightning and listening to the thunder and rain. the day started as a drizzly gray vancouver december day and ended as an australian december day.

Friday, December 02, 2005


ants are amazing!! both me and zac have spent way too much time watching the ants work in our yard (and find their way into our house). its amazing the way they work and have a HUGE trail from one end of the backyard all around the edge across a bit by the gate and go down the side of the house to the front yard, down the driveway and then into the neigbour's yard (we haven't looked at where they go from that point). yesterday i actually saw ants showing emotions!!! i was watching them from a chair and i got up to do something and when i sat back down my toe injured one going on a side trail that wasn't very busy. he couldnt' really walk and i knew he'd die so i did the nice thing and put him out of his misery with my finger 8( a few seconds later one of his mates approached the body. he started visibly trembling!!! he was shaking so much as he walked away that he actually stumbled and rolled down a crack (the kind they put in sidewalks). he managed to get up and tremble away and went off in a direction that wasn't a made ant trail. for the next several minutes i watched as other ants came near the body on their trips across the ant trail. as they got close and realized it was a squished friend they turned back the way they came and picked up speed and ran!! their friend's little body ment danger to them. i caused a lot of trauma within our ant community.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

don't talk bad about them

apparently computers don't like it when you say bad things about them. i clicked on my blog yesterday to discover that the entire page of my blog was my last post "stupid computer" printed over and over again and all my other blogs went into archives. what made it bad was cleaning it all up cuz our computer is soo rediculously slow (i mean speed challenged). i have to delete each one individually and it involves opening up 4 pages every time and it got slower and slower each time i went through the cycle of clicking "edit Posts", "delete post", "confirm delete", and then the page telling me i was successful and i click "edit posts" again-- 15 times!!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

stupid computer

i've spent WAY too much time infront of the computer this weekend. i managed to get about 40 of 92 photos from our long weekend away from a CD onto the hard drive (that was about a 2 hour process and i spent another 1 1/2 hrs trying to get the rest of them on the computer but that's not gonna happen so i give up on it now). i just spent 45 minutes now trying to post a couple photos on a blog (unfortunately the best photos are in the part of the cd that doesn't want to go on the hard drive-- our cdrom drive is kinda broken, i don't think its the cd's fault or my bad relationship with computers). after going through about 8 different "help" pages on blogger (it takes anywhere from 30 sec-2 minutes to load every webpage on our computer) and clicking back and forth on my blog editing pages i dicovered that our computer isn't good enough to support the little icon (and bit of program that goes with the icon) to upload photos onto my blog. now i have to wait until we get our new computer (which hopefully should be very soon-- i gotta get onto zac's mum about that) before i can post any photos. once we get the new computer i'll be able to post the photos from our camera too though (the ones i have on cd are from zac's mum).

Monday, November 07, 2005


i had some random thoughts about moths last nite. someone once told me that moths are trying to get to the moon and thats why when there's a lite they can get to the just keep flying into it over and over. whenever i see a moth doing this i wonder if he's just thinking "i made it" bump, "i made it" bump, "i made it" bump, "i made it" bump,... until the light is gone. but last nite i started thinking about it more. if its true (which i doubt) what happens to the moth that lives in a forest or somewhere where the only lite is the moon? does he just keep flying up and up until the air is so thin that he dies or he reaches the atmosphere and is burned up? and if moths like the light so much why are the nocturnal and stay in dark areas? wouldn't they be happier during the day when everything is bright?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

cruelty free

we went to a cruelty free expo on the weekend-- filled with products not involving animals in the making or testing and organizations fighting for animal rights. some of the stuff there is pretty amazing. theres a couple chinese ressturants and shops that do all kinds of immitation meat. i tried a sample of satay "chicken" from a restraunt we've been meaning to go to-- it was AMAZING. i havn't had actual chicken in a few years but this would have to be as good as, or better than i can remember chicken being. i wanted to buy some frozen "prawns" to do garlic prawns with but we weren't going straight home after so they'd prbably defrost and do somethign weird in zac's bag before we could get home. one day one of us will have to make the effort to get out to the vegetarian asian grocery store to buy some (its in a suburb west of here and trams run north/south from our suburb north of the city and its actually a tough suburb to get to by tram or train cuz there's only a couple lines that run through it from the city and buses are really unreliable and don't even know where to catch one going that way). there was lots of other great stuff too like real looking fake leather bags and shoes (zac's got a pair of vegan dress/nice casual shoes). i also had the most amazing vegan cheesecake. creamy just like real cheesecake but no dairy or eggs in it (i've been thinking about trying to attempt making vegan cheesecake but we don't have vegan sour cream here yet and i think if i made tofu sour cream it might give the cheesecake a bit of a tofu-y taste). it'd be nice if a lot of the products we saw there were more available. a few things are available at major supermarkets but a lot of the really nice stuff is either online ordering or you have to go out to a shop they have in some random suburb-- not great when you rely on your bike or public transport). a lot of it is kind of expensive too cuz its not produced on a large scale yet-- hopefully one day it'll be the norm.
here's a good point to ponder though: humans are the only animal that drink another mammals' milk and we are the only animal that continues drinking that animals milk throughout adulthood.
i read that somewhere a while ago. then i started seeing stuff about the horrible ways cows are treated when they're raised for milk. its pretty sad. there's a lot of other easy sorces for the vitimins and minerals we get from milk, we don't need it for survival (a lot of people do better without dairy).
we have a bumper sticker on our fridge that says "meat and dairy based diets keep the rest of the world starving" the amount of grain we have to grow to feed 1 cow can feed a HUGE number of people (i can't remember the exact number but its rediculous cuz that cow doesn't produce enough meat to feed anywhere near that number of people).
i still haven't made the jump to veganism but vegetarian with just a small amout of vegetarian (non animal rennet) cheese and maybe a few free range eggs or eggs from zacs aunt and uncles chooks makes some difference and i feel better physically without meat in my body.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

weird birds

its springtime and all the birds are out doing bird things, protecting their eggs and taking care of their babies. one bird here-- the magpie-- is known for getting a bit possessive and territorial. its actually recommended that people wear sunglasses on the back of their bike helmets or draw eyes on their helmets in spring cuz these birds are known to swoop and peck at people if you get too close to their homes. i think they do it even when they aren't near their homes too-- they're just mean. zac's mum had one swoop her on her bike last week. he didn't just do it once but he went at her (fortunately on the helmet) a few times and then landed on her shoulder to take a few pecks at the helmet. she was to scared to let go of her handlebar to take a swing at him to scare him away cuz she thought she'd fall off her bike so she just let him do it and then take off.
other birds get aggressive too. zac was at a pedestrian/bike crossing waiting for the light to change. another guy on a bike was there too, holding onto the signal button pole while he waited. a brown bird the size of a small crow (me and zac have been trying to remember the name of them for a few days and we can't) was just walking around on the footpath by them, pecking away at whatever he was finding on the sidewalk. all of a sudden he just jumped up and hit his feet into the helmet of the guy infront of zac and then just went right back to pecking the ground like nothing happened. the guy was a little confused and turned to look at zac to see if zac saw it happen too. a friend of ours came up with a theory. maybe the little bird hated the walk signal noise and saw the guy leaning on the pole with his hand by the button so he thought if he smacked the guy he'd go away and then there would be no annoying sound.
my favorite bird story is one i saw. i was biking home from work and a guy was biking down the footpath toward me as i was going down the side of the road. he had some kind of parrot on his shoulder. as he passed me i could hear him having a conversation with the parrot but he wasn't just talking to it he was arguing with it and saying in an stern voice something like "no, we're doing it this way!". was the parrot actually being that stubborn that he had to argue with it to get his way?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


we sat down to eat dinner last nite just as a big lightning storm was starting (pretty common in spring/summer here). the wind was blowing the rain into the window so hard it sounded like someone was standinng outside spraying the window with a hose. all of a sudden there was a HUGE gust of wind and a very loud crash of thunder boomed. then we started hearing crashing and banging noises outside and something hard was hitting the side of the house. both of us just sat staring at the wall wondering what was happening and what we were supposed to do. it got quiet and went back to just rain pounding on the window. we decided to see what hit the house cuz it was just a narrow alleyway between our house and our neighbour's (who are also our landlords) and whatever it was came from our roof or thiers. zac went down the dark alley and said something about tiles on the ground and asked me if i thought we had tiles on the roof. my thought was "no-- who tiles their roof? maybe he means shingles.". we went back inside to finish our dinner and leave it until morning. i went out this morning and the alley had broken tiles in it. i looked at our roof, its corrigated iron. the landlords roof is tiled (thats who tiles their roof). the landlords came by to check out damage to our house-- i hadn't noticed when i looked but the winds actually ripped some of the nails off on our roof and the sheets of iron had started to come off. the landlord said that a tree had also fallen through a window on their house. now we know what happened with that big bang (we thought maybe lightning hit our house or theirs-- maybe it did). the wind or lightning hit a tree and dropped it on their house, breaking the tiles on their roof and the wind threw them into our house. everyone is ok but our landlords have a lot of repair work to do.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

monday/tuesday group

at the preschool i'm working at we always refer to the monday/tuesday group as the hard group. there's a lot of difficult behaviours in the group and it can be a challange to get them all playing nicely or sitting still and listening when they need to. they can be kinda funny though. the other day one of the women i work with overheard a child saying to a "difficult behaviour child" (who thinks she's a princess and acts really immiturely for her age) "are you like this at home? are you just always naughty?" it was nice to have another child telling her this-- might make her think about what she's doing and realize she's not funny even to her peers when she's doing her immature little games. another kid tried to tell me that i was naughty. he was mad at me because i'd asked him to leave an area after warning him twice about not playing properly (chasing and tackling another child). when he wouldn't pick anopther area to play in i just stood blocking his way so he couldn't get back to where he wanted to play. he just kept telling me i was naughty and trying to get around me without having to touch me. when i realized he didn't want to be near me i just said that i was going to sit in the area i was telling him to leave. he stormed off to tell the other staff i wouldn't let him play there (not really the brightest kid. he doesn't realize all the staff are on the same page when it comes to discipline for not playing properly with the toys or other children). several seconds later i hear my boss saying to him "shawna's naughty? i don't think so!"
fortunately its wednesday today so i don't have to deal with that group of kids until next week. 8)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

melbourne drivers

vancouver drivers are known for their aggressive driving but melbourne drivers definately top vancouver. drivers here believe that they are the only ones on the road that matter and anyone in their way is wrong. rarely do i walk up to the shops near our house without seing a driver honk (usually repeatedly) at a car in front of him/her that is turning left or right at an intersection (completely legally). they think becuase they want to go straght that the car infront should not slow them down on the way to their destination. they get annoyed that the person infront has stopped to yeild to oncomming traffic or pedestrians or even just slowed to make the turn and they feel they have every right to be annoyed at them and honk repeatedly for the person infront making them have to hit the brakes. cars also have a habit of honking at each other while they're stuck in traffic and nobody is moving but they see a green light ahead and feel the need to just lay on their horn thinking that somehow traffic will magically start moving. it is kinda funny to watch as a pedestrian or as a cyclist riding past traffic lined up through 3 sets of lights but its annoying to listen to and makes you wonder what people actually think when they're honking at people who are in their way but are legally turning or are stuck in as much traffic as they are. i think something happens to people's brains when they get behind the wheel of a car and suddenly they think the world revolves around them.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

go the demons!

i got to go to my first footie (australian football) game last nite. it was REALLY good. zac had a couple free tickets from work that he was supposed to give away but couldn't find anyone to take them so we decided to use them so they wouldn't go to waste. we were kinda thinking about going to the game anyway but it was supposed to be pretty wet all weekend so we never got tickets or anything. my team (melbourne demons) were down by about 13 points when we got there near the end of the first quarter (the team they were playing is #1 on the ladder right now, my team is tied for 5th and we're only a few games away from the grand final). they made a comeback though and were doing pretty good thru the 3rd and part of the 4th quarters. the way the clock works, you don't know when the quarters are going to end (it counts up and they add time on to the end instead of stopping the clock). it was definately near the end of the forth and they were down by 10 points so they needed 2 goals (6 points each) to win. fortunately the quarter was extra long and they did it, they got a few free kicks and got a couple points and 2 goals!! in the end melbourne beat the bulldogs 105-109!!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

re-ajusting to australia

it took over 32 hrs of travelling (not including the shuttle bus to the vancouver airport and 2hrs hanging around there-- mostly standing in line to get a tax refund and then we had to leave while we were next in line cuz we were already late for our boarding call and still had to go through security to get to our gate) but we made it back to melbourne and its FREEZING cold winter weather. it really was freezing. it was 9 degrees when we arrived at 1pm and it had snowed that morning in south melbourne (only about 15kms from our house and not up any elevation gain). today we got stuck in a rain storm biking back from the shops (if we'd just spent 20 minutes more at the shops we would have been ok but we forgot that melbourne rain tends to only come in 20 min bursts and decided just to bike through it-- it stopped before we even got home). fortunately the jetlag isn't bad though (i think the fact that we were stuck in so many time zones over so many hours just kinda made our bodies forget any time). i managed to stay awake until we put a movie on at 7pm last nite and then slept mostly through the nite and got up 11:30 today and feel pretty fine (although it does seem weird that its completely dark a little after 6pm). its good though cuz i gotta get up at 8am tomorrow and deal with screaming babies all day. we were thinking of going to the footie (australian rules football) tomorrow nite but i don't think i'm that ajusted to the time or sitting in the freezing cold for a few hours yet.

Friday, July 29, 2005

cool animals

we made it all the way to palmer, alaska and back (almost 8000 kms and around 90 hrs of sitting in the car). it was definately worth it. we saw a lot of cool animals and mountains and scenery and got to camp at some really nice hot springs (and a lot of horrible little hotels in little towns) and did a couple days of ridiculously long drives (16-18 hrs). here's some of my favourite photos from the vancouver to alaska and back part of our north america trip.
this was our first moose siting. she even posed for us and then walked off after we finished taking photos
here's our first male moose (hanging out in a swamp on the side of the hiway in alaska)

buffalo on the side of the hiway (and on the hiway) our first animal siting of the trip: the road-liking caribou
one of four (6 if you count the 2 road kill ones) bears we saw (no grizzlys though)

i can't figure out how to get the rest of the photos i want onto this blog so i'm just gonna publish them another way (and they'll each have their own blog). they're kinda in reverse order (or not really in any order) of what i wanted them to be in.

our first alaska hike. apparently there's a lake right behind us and big mountains all around us.

cute little ground squirel thing on our first hike in alaska

zac by a glacier

my friend that we stayed with in alaska (good tour guide). its kinda cool that even though we live on opposite sides of the world, we still can see each other.

humpback whale

the humpback whale showed himself (well his tail and blowhole spray) 10 min later

my favourite road sign from the trip (there's 3 or 4 along the alaska-canada hiway)

the american side of the border

the canadian side of the border

this lake (lake kluane) is somewhere in the yukon (or maybe northern bc). its an amazing blue colour.

this little guy was actually in stanley park but he's cute so i had to put him in

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

too much to write

we've been in north america for about a week now i guess (my brain is all confused about what day it is and when we left and too many time zones). we flew thru taipei (somehow that works out cheaper to do that). the flight from sydney to taipei puts us 2 hours behind melbourne time but in the northern hemisphere where its summer (and about 30C and humid). the airline put everyone on the connecting flight to vancouver in a really nice hotel/golf club for the nite and shuttled us back to the airport the next morning. then we got on another 9 hr flight to vancouver (15 hrs behind taipei) so we left taipei tuesday afternoon and arrived in vancouver tuesday morning. 3 days after arriving in vancouver we jumped in a car and started driving to alaska. the fact that vancouver was light until 10pm was confusing enough for us but after 3.5 days of travelling north we got to palmer, alaska where it doesn't get much past dusk and the sun still is just setting behind mountains now at 10:50 pm (now an hour behind vancouver time). so thats messed up my brain a lot. its a good trip though. china airlines is amazing. we even had individual tv screens with movies, video games and other tv programs on the first 9 hr flight). driving to alaska we saw moose, bears, deers, cariboo and wolves. we stayed at a hot springs in northern bc that was amazing too. the sun just came out this evening in palmer so we finally got a view of all the mountains surrounding the town. tomorrow we go on a wildlife/glacier cruise in a town a few hours from here and then we'll check out anchorage on the way back the next day before we start heading back down to vancouver early saturday morning.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

babies are smart

i've been working in the babies room (6months-2yrs) at one of the centres most of the past 2 weeks. its amazing some of the stuff that they say and do especially cuz i've known a lot of the older ones since they first started coming last year and they've definately figured out a few things about life since then.
a couple months ago i asked a 20month old "are you going to canada?" (her mom is canadian-- the girl is 2 in a couple days and will be going on her 4th trip to canada 10 days after we leave). anyway, her response was "airplane". she knew that to get to canada meant going in an airplane.
yesterday at morning tea one of the older ones turned to the staff and just said "is there more toast please?" a full 5 word question! usually this boy just says "more toast?, more toast?, more toaast?, more toast?..." over and over until someone responds (the general way that most of the ones able to talk ask for things).
we have another little girl who's almost 2 who i think is the most considerate toddler in the world. she's soooo sweet to ALL the other babies all the time (holds the younger ones hands to lead them to where they should be, gets toys for crying babies and tries to pat them to comfort them, she shares with everyone, opens and closes doors for the babies AND the staff--without anyone asking her to...). its weird too cuz her older sister (she's 4) was the complete opposit-- she was one of the ones that would push and shove all the others and was just a really mean baby.
at the end of the day yesterday i was holding an 18 month old's hand while he climbed up and down some steps in the play yard. i wasn't really paying much attention but then i noticed that as he was going down the steps he was counting his steps and i could hear him saying "one...two...three" to himself as he went down-- that's pretty good cuz half the babies/toddlers can't even say the numbers let alone actually use them for counting properly.
after a couple parents left with their baby a toddler turned to me, pointed to his boots and said "boots like andrew." (the dad that just left). i was impressed that he actually knew the guy's name (i can never remember his name-- i just see him and think "[baby's name]'s dad")
i think one of the funniest things i saw them do this week (although we had to be stern with them while dealing with it, it was funny to watch it happen). one boy was walking around with this toy trian in his hands. another toddler decided he wanted it so he went up and grabbed it. the first boy pushed him but thtat didn't work too well cuz the one with the train was already walking away. we all just started to raise our voices to tell the first boy not to push and the second boy to give the train back when the first boy decided to run after the one with the train and tackle him-- he dived at the boy's legs and wrapped his arms around his ankles and the boy with the train came down. the first boy picked up the train and walked off (off course we had to go after him, take the train away and expain thats not how to do things but it was funny just seeing him take down this bigger boy and walk off like nothing happened)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

cool thing for the day

i came home this afternoon and sat down to have "lunch" (it was about 3:30 and i realized i hadn't had anything since my cheese and vege-sausage sandwhich for breackfast). i was sitting in the kitchen and the window on one side was bright and sunny with just a few grayish/white clouds but the other side was really dark. several minutes later it started raining (not a big surprise for melbourne-- especially this time of year). i decided to go do some stuff in our new spare room while it was too wet to go out. the new spare room (our old housemates room) has a window that faces out onto the street (no other windows in our house face that way). i was sitting by the window when the downpour started. all along the sides of the street rivers were forming. i saw these 2 indian miner birds (small-ish birds with yellow beaks) fly down to the "river/puddle" along the kerb and start flapping around having a bath. it just looked really cool-- these 2 birds having a party in the water from the rain, right infront of our house.

Friday, June 24, 2005

the most brilliant thing ever

its probably not the MOST brilliant thing but its up there and at 8am on a friday morning after an exhausting week and its the coldest morning i've experienced in a LONG time (only about 5 degrees)its the best.i'm talking about coffee. i had my big travel mug full of it when i left the house this morning. it was great standing at the tram stop with a big warm mug (the tram was late). its brilliant having this beverage filled with caffiene to help me start my day (i wouldn't have made it out of bed this morning if i didn't know i was gonna get some within an hour of waking up) and it kept me sooo warm while i was waiting for the tram and sitting on the unheated tram (of course i think body heat helped after the tram was overpacked 2 stops later). i kinda felt bad that nobody else had one to keep them warm and awake though. the idea of a hot caffienated beverage is a great invention though.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"winter" weather

i decided today that i can't complain about melbourne winter weather (at least not to canadians, but to sydney-siders or queenslanders i can get away with it-- they feel sorry for us down here and most wonder why anyone would live in melbourne). winter started june 1 but its been clear blue sky most days and no rain (although we definitely need it cuz we're in the middle of a bad drought). the autumn leaves have just started changing colours and falling (they're a bit behind cuz autumn was so warm). we sat at an outdoor cafe on sunday morning (yes, me and zac we're both actually up in the am hrs but only cuz zac had to work at 1pm). it was weird to think it was supposed to be winter but we could sit outside by the creek drinking coffee and just wear longsleeve tshirts. today i came home for lunch today and ate in the backyard in a tank top it was so nice. i just heard on the radio that its supposed to be up to 21C again tomorrow. melbourne is generally known for its "cold" winters and 4 seasons in one day but it's definitely not winter compared to canada (or even the mountains of southern california).

Monday, May 30, 2005


we went to a wedding on the weekend. it was a bit backwards and untraditional but lots of fun. first of all, the entire wedding (including the ceremony) took place in a pub-- the pub where the bride and groom and a few of us do monday nite triva (not even in a function room at a pub but they rented out the place). when we arrived the bride and groom were just mingling among the guests (the bride just wearing an evening dress) and appitizers were being served. about an hour or so later the bride went off to change into her wedding dress (which was red because she thought white or cream would make her look too pale) with her 3 bidesmaids (all wearing black). the ceremony was quite simple (but entertaining) with the 3 bridesmaids, the bride and groom and the best man (no groommen beside him) all standing in a corner of the pub, the parents and grandparents sitting infront of them and all the rest of the guests just standing wherever they could get a good view. after the ceremony everyone just hung out at ate entree (appitizer) size servings of dinner foods (except zac who got a large bowl of asian noodles because that was the one dinner food that was vegan so the groom had arranged for him to have a large serve). there were a few quick speeches later on, a bit of dancing (mostly just the “old” people) and a few overly-drunk people. it was definately the most casual wedding i’ve been to but it made it a good opportunity for everyone to spend lots of time with the bride and groom and see lots of people that we don’t see too often.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

what are they thinking?

working in childcare i see a lot of stuff (both from kids and staff) that just makes me wonder what's going through their heads at the time. this past week i had a few of those incedents. i've been mostly working with kinder(garden) kids (preschool in north america) this week. most of the week i was at a school near my house working with kids who come into the stuctured program 2 days a week. one afternoon we were sitting at the picnic tables outside having afternoon tea (no, we don't serve the kids tea-- its what snack time is called here). most of the kids had finished and gone off to play so i got up to move closer to the last couple of boys who were fooling around more than they were eating. i looked up to find that one boy had taken apart the quarter of his vegemite (dark brown "concentrated yeast extract spread" that every australian child eats)sandwhich and he was holding one piece of thick vegemite covered bread in each hand. he then raised his hands up to his eyes and started twisting the bread (vegemite side towards his face) over his eyes. i didn't even know what to say to him. all i could think was "why?". when i later told the director about it she just replied "yes, there is a bit of a maturity age gap between some of the children."
two days later i was working in a kinder room at a child care centre. i dread working in this room every 4th friday just because they have some difficult behaviours in the room and its really draining working with them. i came into the room that morning to find the temporary qualified staff person (the permanent person had quit 2 weeks earlier and the temp. was working there until a permanent person was hired) explaining the routine for the day. it was going to be a big day because one of the children was celebrating her birthday and that afternoon the former qualified woman was getting married and had invited the kinder kids to the ceremony. the birthday girl had brought in cake and the plan was to give everyone cake for morning tea (!?) because if they had it after lunch they would be wired on sugar at the wedding which wouldn't be good. so we were going to give them cake and then have them try to run it off in the tiny play yard they have. then we were going to have an early-ish lunch and try to get all of them to sleep (some usually just rest but we were told to try to get them to sleep too) so that they would be happy and sugar-free for the wedding. it was weird cuz when i was told about this plan i could tell it wasn't a spur of the moment thought that the temp. had come up with but that this had been discussed and approved by(and maybe even suggested by)the director. fortunately it didn't turn out as too much of a mess but the idea of giving them cake instead of toast or fruit has got to be against some policy.