Friday, December 29, 2006

the great ocean road

boxing day denise, my mom and i headed down the great ocean road. we stayed at blue johanna cottages (in johanna). we made really good time going down cuz the traffic we were expecting was non-existant. the weather was a bit on and off (showers, fog in the hills but not cold and not too bad). after we got settled in our suite we went for a walk in the otways out to triplet falls. amazing tree ferns and lots of carnivorous snails. we went looking for koalas and found several up in trees along the side of the road. after we did all that we were driving back and one was walking down the road towards us!! fortunately denise was able to stop safely in time (it was just after a curve) and the car that came down after us didn't hit us either. the koala calmly sauntered off to the side of the road and posed for us there
the next morning we headed down the great ocean road to see the 12 apostles.

(the heap in the foreground is the one that fell down in the last couple years- it was there the last time i saw them). Posted by Picasa
this is loch ard gorge: its famous becuase there was one shipwreck there where the only survivors were a boy and a girl. the boy managed to climb the steep cliffs somehow (they are sooooo high and not really much to use to climb) and then found a homestead and got help for him and the girlthis pelican is in the visitor information centre in port campbell (its not usually decorated though-- that was a special christmas thing). the poor bird flew into a plane (or plane flew into it) and so now its stuffed and in the visitor centre.
one of the large trees in maites rest

the beach in barwon heads (we're hoping to have the wedding near this spot-- on the sandy part of the beach thats sheltered a bit) Posted by Picasa


despite it being the coldest christmas in melbourne since 1935 (it only hit a high of 14C and i think it hovered around 10-12C most of the day-- and it rained and hailed and thunder and a bit of sun...) it was a great day spent with family it was one of those "more pressents than tree" situations (gifts for 9 people plus the dog-- who got several gifts and some other random gifts sitting under the tree for people not there)

exhausted puppy (she even opened most of her own gifts)

family photo

zac and tomi (the cutest little dog on his dad's side of the family) Posted by Picasa

and of course it wouldn't be christmas without the singing of the aussie version of jingle bells (i love the different reactions of everyone in the video):

Monday, December 25, 2006


we're happily enjoying melbourne's coldest christmas since somethingn like 1935!!! its FREEZING!! i took wombat for a walk around 8:30 and i needed gloves (which i don't have with me). wombat is enjoying her visit to "grandogma's". she loves the big backyard and checking out the gifts under the tree. she's been pretty well behaved too (when she's not excited about all the fun new things around). she did excellent in the car too (we even took her for a second car ride to go looking for kangaroos so my mom could see some-- we did find some too). now its just started pouring down with the rain we were told we were getting today (it was sunny). now we just need the expected hail to come (its in lilydale right now). its like a canadian christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

mmmm....egg nog

the one thing i miss from back home at christmas is egg nog (and pumpkin pie but zac's mum makes a great vegan one). i would go thru cartons of it every year back home. here you can't get it in cartons (or so i thought). the past couple years i've made a vegan one from a recepie in how it all vegan and its really good. i was actually planning on making that today but i got sidetracked at pedemontes when i saw a small fridge at the end of the isle that had been placed there and decorated with christmas decorations. inside were lots of cartons. most of them were some custard stuff that you get in cartons here at christmas (not sure what it is) and then there was a row of this:
real egg nog in a carton!!! i bought it and forgot to buy the silken tofu so i could make the vegan one (i'll do that at some point in the next couple days so zac can enjoy it too-- i don't even think he actually enjoys egg nog at all but if i make it vegan he'll drink it).
less than 12 hrs until my mom arrives!!!! (so i should probably get off here and go finish setting up her room). Posted by Picasa

tooooooo hot!

it didn't get below 27C last nite!!! i don't mind the hot days when it atleast drops below 20C overnite. yesterday and last nite were a lot like last new years eve (but at least then i didn't try to sleep until about 5am and the house we were at had air conditioning so the girls all hung out inside after midnite while the guys were dancing in their underwear in the backyard).
somehow i'm supposed to clean the house and get stuff ready for my mom's arrival but this heat is getting to be a bit much. i should probably enjoy it cuz the cool change is comming any minute i think by the way the wind has just picked up and its supposed to only get to 18-20C for the next few days (my coldest christmas here yet!). we're also supposed to get some much needed rain!!!! hopefully that happens cuz i was told yesterday that january 1 we move into stage 3 water restrictions-- i don't even think we've had stage 2 restrictions before this year in the time i've lived here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

this is why i don't take public transport

today was one of those 37C days. fortunately i spent a good part of the day in the air conditioned room at work cleaning and enjoying lunch and wine with co-workers. after i finally got out of there (we were finished cleaning by 1:30 but it was after 4 when i left) i rode home in the hot wind and decided it was too hot in the house so i thought i'd take a tram into the city and go christmas shopping. first i went into the 7-11 across from the tram stop to get a 10x 2hr ticket but they were out so i ended up just getting a single 2 hr ticket (costs more per trip). i went back across the street and waited with the few people that looked like they'd been waiting a while. finally a tram came by (one of the new air conditioned ones) and we got on. i validated my ticket and sat down. the light changed but the tram didn't move. then the driver got out of his compartment and went to the back of the tram to the other driving compartment for going the other way. he backed the tram up a bit a couple times. then he got on the p.a. and said the tram was stuck. a minute later we hear the radio announcement that was going to all the trams "due to a defective tram on nicholson at glenlyon, all trams heading to east brunswick will need to terminate at north fitzroy". we all got off. i was a bit stressed at this point cuz it was almost 5pm and i had an ebay item that needed to be sent via express post TODAY and i needed to get to a post office to get the express envelope and post it in one of the yellow post boxes by 6pm. i started walking and got to the north fitzroy post office just before they closed and managed to post it. then i had to keep walking (in the 37C heat-- with a "windchill" factor that definately made it in the 40s) to get to where the trams were leaving from to the city. i waited a few minutes there for a tram. a few minutes after i got on the tram engine stopped and the lights inside went out (why they're on in the middle of the day i don't know). then the air conditioning stopped. i was just about ready to get off and walk the 25 minutes home at this point. after a few tries the tram was up and running again though so it was good. it took me 50 min to get into the city!!! normally it takes 15-20 by tram. once i got there it was good. i got zac's gift, got something for his aunt and uncle and a gift for the kris kringle on his dad's side. now we just gotta find something for his nanna. coming home my ticket expired part way back. i figured if an inspector checked it i would just give him the whole story about the tram getting stuck and that i would have been home before it expired if it hadn't taken 3 times as long as it normally would to get into the city- and then i would just hope they accepted that as a good enough reason.

  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


yesterday marked 1 year since i got doored by a car riding home from work. i fell off my bike again yesterday but this time it was my own stupid fault. i was expecting a call and my mobile started ringing in my back pocket as i was riding. i tried to break, pull over to the curb and pull my phone out of my pocket all at the same time (not sure what i was thinking-- too much i think). so i ended up on the pavement (more embarrassing the painful at the time). i bent my rear derailleur though (so the gears don't change right and i keep having to bend it back out away from the wheels so i doesn't hit the spokes). i think i'll be making a trip to the bike shop in the next week. i've got a big purple bruise on my knee now and a cut on my hand and my neck is tight again (and i ended up missing the call). its my own fault though (that'll teach me). on the way back home i almost got hit by a car that was NOT my fault. the woman was at a stop light in the lane going straight. i was going to go straight too so i was coming up along the right side of the left turning lane (note to north americans: i'm on the other side of the road here). the woman decided just as i was passing her that she wanted to change into the left turning lane and proceeded to do so without making sure the lane was actually clear. i managed to swerve out of the way and glare back at her, a little shook up. i proceeded to the front of the straight lane and then bumped into a sideview mirror of a taxi (i was a little shaken from the incident). next year december 19th is gonna be a bike free day for me.

this video (which has nothing to do with the above story) is a training thing i decided to test out on wombat to try to get her a bit less agressive and curious about other dogs. i downloaded a dog barking sound and played it a few times. she growled the first time and i scolded her. i think this video is the 3rd time thru. now she just lays down and lifts her ears.

Monday, December 18, 2006


i know i've mentioned oztion before but its great-- for both buyers and sellers. its the australian ebay. for sellers its great cuz they don't charge listing fees and the percentage they charge of the final sale price for items sold is less than ebay (although i'm sure the free listing thing will change when they start getting as big as ebay-- its probably just to entise people to sell on oztion). for buyers its great cuz you don't have to competition that you do when bidding on items on ebay. yeah, it doesn't have as many items listed but there still is a lot of good stuff. click on the link above and sign up to oztion!! (yes i am getting a small amount of money for every person that signs up thru my referal but the more people using oztion, the better it can be). i've got some great things for sale on there too (there's a link on my sidebar to my items for sale)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

wedding in the park

wombat got to go to her first (and probably only) wedding today. an aquaintence who is kind of involved with fnb got married in a park near our house today. we got invited the other day but for some reason zac thought the wedding started at 3pm so we thought we'd take wombat for a nice long walk around noon and tire her out so she'd be happy to sleep thru the afternoon. just before we headed out at 11:30am we discovered the wedding was at noon. wombat was all excited about leaving for her walk so we decided she'd have to go to the wedding.
we weren't really concerned about her being out of place there, just worried about how she'd be with dogs in the park (especially others that were off lead) and with a big group of people. she did VERY well. she did get aggressive a couple times toward other dogs she saw but she got smacked hard for it and we kept her very tight to us. she was great with people though and even small children. she sat very quietly thru the ceremony and did very well.
the vet recommended an obedience school not too far from here (train or car ride) so we're hoping that we will be able to socialize her with other dogs so she doesn't hurt one by accident or on purpose.

had to put in this shot of our friend posing with wombat in his lawn bowling/wedding attire: Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

dancing wombats

in the last 24 hrs i have had 2 different people find my blog by doing a google search for "optus dancing wombat". i would have thought that really odd if i hadn't opened the email from optus last nite just before the search term appeared on my site meter. optus sent out a great ecard (anything with dancing or singing animals is great) and because i mentioned how much i love dancing animals on optus ads in one post and the several posts about our dog wombat i'm #2 on the google search for "optus dancing wombats" (i don't even know where to find the acutal dancing wombat card site without going into my email and clicking the link to open the card)

entertainment in small packages

zac was trying to watch a dvd but there was a lot of background noise cuz the dvd laser needed cleaning. he pulled out our $2 shop dvd player cleaner disc and poped it in. we've only used it once before on the dvd player and it must have only been for minute or so. this time zac left it playing and got distracted with wombat. all of a sudden there's pictures of rhinos in a zoo on the screen and the words to "happy birthday" are going across the bottom of the screen as a group of kids start singing along. i started cracking up. the song finished and we discovered that was the first of 11 tracks. my favourites are in the video above (the animals never seemed to match the song being sung). it was also very cute when they did this song with the lines "i am a girl and you are a boy....." (it ended with will you be my friend?). a lot of the songs sound like they are specifically children's songs used for learning english as a second language and its a group of asian kids singing them as they're learning english. the little girl who was singing the girl/boy song could not get her 'L"s out and it ended up sounding like "i am a girrr...." its cute.
that's my entertainment tonight (we wore the dog out and i didn't feel like going out with friends tonite)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

wombat is back!

before work yesterday morning zac went to get wombat and bring her back home. she's had a really good 24hrs with us. i went into work late so i could settle her in before leaving. i worked on "sit" a bit more (the one command she kinda knows) and "stay" (she's getting the hang of it). i tried to tire her out before i left for work by playing in the backyard and tried to show her that we'll leave her in the yard but we'll always come back. i think she had a good day while i was gone for 5.5 hrs (everything was exactly how i left it-- even her rope toy hadn't moved from the spot at the back of the yard. i think she spent the time sleeping and searching for the tennis ball she had before i left-- i took it cuz it was chewed up)
when zac got home we took her for a walk. that was a bit of an effort. she has NO concept of the word "heel" yet and spends the ENTIRE walk choking herself (we haven't actually used her choker on her to walk yet). she doesn't even know the word "walk" yet. i looked up a few sites on training a dog to heel and it shouldn't take too long for her to learn (just a lot of persistance and we need to decide which method we're gonna use).
here's our tired dog waiting for us to go to bed so she can have some peace:
she had a good nite sleep and stayed on her bed the entire night (zac insisted on wrapping her up in her blanket). last time she spent the nite she knew something was really wrong and was quite nervous. she eneded up sleeping in zacs dirty laundry next to the bed and then after zac's alarm went off the next morning she jumped on the bed and was shivering a bit (i think nervous shiver cuz it wasn't cold). this time she stayed on her bed thru zac's 3 alarms and didn't get up until zac got up (then came to greet me with some very wet dog kisses and a lot of jumping in the bed).
there's a fenced in area (we think it is specifically a dog run) down the road that i think i may take her to this morning to play some fetch (its just a matter of getting her there without choking her to death). or i might just take her across the road to the park to do a session on heeling. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

another fun day of melbourne weather

i am FREEZING right now (and when i'm done this i'm about to go out into the cold to get another chewy toy for wombat-- not without my gloves though)

its supposed to get to 28C today. defiinately not getting there very quickly though. i guess it isn't even 9am yet. i'm gonna go dig out the gloves (my hands are freezing as i type right now) and bike down to the shops for the hardest bone chew toy i can find (so hopefully it'll entertain wombat for the afternoon-- zac's on his way to get her now). Posted by Picasa


this is what the sun looks like right now cuz of all the smoke from the fires around the state. everything has got this weird orange glow to it. its kinda creepy.

here's a shot of the east part of the state from the other day. lots of smoke. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

this is crazy

so yesterday reached a top of 42C (with the windchill making it 46C). today the high was 24C-- at 6am. its been hovering around 20C most of the day and i was actually cold riding home in the 17C temp after work. you can even see the big drop on the graph yesterday when the cool change hit yesterday arvo-- it goes almost straight down! i don't think mebourne weather will ever stop facinating me. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the cool change!!

its arrived!!!!! it just dropped form 41C (with a "wind chill" of 46C) to a nice mild 27C!! i'm gonna go crash the boys party at the pub down the road where zac is at (i'm allowed to). all the guys on zacs dads side of the family are there having a drink as a boys bonding time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

tribute to ray

we went over to ray's people's house to give them flowers and a card for their loss. both me and zac are feeling much better now. we had a good chat with his people about ray and how he (turns out he actually is a boy- he just has visable nipples and squats to pee) ruled the neighbourhood and thought he was invincible. we talked about his attitude (the way he'd suddenly turn on you while you were patting him and then bite or scratch you) and the way he bossed around their other previous cat and the new current cat that they've had for about a year. we actually had no idea they had another cat-- i said to zac this morning that we've never seen other cats in this block although they're all down the side streets off of ours. ray ruled the block. he became very anti-social when they first got a second cat. when that cat was hit by a car about a 18 months ago ray became very affectionate and friendly. not long after, they got a kitten which ray decided he hated right away and became even more anti-social than when the first cat was around and he wouldn't be around the house at all (when i think about it-- that would be about the time he started becoming more than just the elusive black cat that appeared in our yard randomly but wouldn't let us near it. that's about the time he started letting us pet him and he walked into our house for the first time). his people were very glad to know that ray was staying with us on cold nights when they couldn't find him (we always thought they put him out at nite becuase when he first started sleeping over we'd find him outside when we came home late at nite).
poor ray thought he was invincible and he had a bad habit of picking fights when he shouldn't. and that's what happened last nite. ray attacked wombat whose defence was biting the cat on her face. she got ray really good on the face a couple times and his people decided it would be the right thing to put him down.
he was a tough cat though. a great little buddy, a good cuddler (when he wanted), and very strong willed. i know that we will miss ray's midnite cries at the door and purrs on our bed. we'll probably even miss his stubborn attitude.
no other cat will ever rule the neighbourhood like ray. Posted by Picasa


a couple hours after that last post ray wandered around. long, sad story short ray attacked wombat's face, wombat bit ray on the face. we called ray's people and they came and got her and took her to the vet. they decided it would be kinder to put ray down then operations and treatment (we offered to help pay for it). we're very sad. we called the lady who brought the dog over and she sent someone this morning for wombat (she's away for the weekend, which is why we were having a trial weekend with the dog-- that incedent was probably the only thing that wombat could have done to make us question adopting her). wombat is going to stay at a 5 star dog kennel for the rest of the weekend while we work things out. ray's people were very kind (i'm sorry we had to finally meet them that way). it wasn't ray's or wombat's fault, just a bad incident. zac still wants to keep wombat. i'm not as sure. she is a good dog though. she was starting to get the command "on your mat" last nite and she was settling quite well. poor dog has had such a traumatizing 24 hrs. both me and zac are feeling really horrible though.

Friday, December 08, 2006

our new addition

wombat has arrived. she flew out from perth this afternoon (thru an animal rescue place connected to one here)and was dropped off at our house tonite for a trial weekend to see if we like her. we're already in love with her. (her eyes aren't that glowing white, its the flash. we'll take better pics tomorrow). she's a bit of a big stupid but she's gorgeous. she knows how to sit (sometimes and she's already figured out her name-- we chose it long before we knew we were getting her, long before we were even allowed a dog).
she's only a year old and had a litter of puppies about a month ago. all the puppies died and when they were desexing her, the found out she was already pregnant again. poor girl has had a bit of a hard life. her nails are really long (we'll be taking care of that soon) so that probably means she hasn't had many walks or socialization. we're already looking into a few obedience classes for her (we took her for a walk around the block tonite and zac's arm was falling off by the time we got back from trying to teach her to sit at curbs and heel). now our poor exhausted dog is laying on her blanket (for tonite. the bed we got is a bit small so we're hoping to upgrade tomorrow)-- she's trying to convince us to let her sleep on the 'spare couch' (we never use it but when people are over) but we're trying to teach her proper home etiquette so no couch (unless she sneaks up on it when we're not in the room-- but she better get down quick if she hears us coming)
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

soooo wrong

Stripper doll for kids, originally uploaded by dooce.

i can't believe a doll like this actually exists-- and that there's parents out there who would actually let their child have it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

christmas and cars

yesterday was the canada club christmas party. we actualy didn't think we were gonna get to it cuz it was in the one area of melbourne that doesn't have a train or tram line running anywhere near it (and buses are HORRIBLE, especially on a sunday). the functions co-ordinator arranged rides for us though. she couldn't find anyone from our area coming to the party so one of the commitee members and her husband said they would come get us (we even offered to take a train slightly closer to the party but they came to the house). they actually live in the suburb that the party was held in!! the club president and his wife drove us back home even though we live in the opposit direction they were going! it was a good party though and i'm glad we went. i even got to have a couple kokanees (mmm...canadian beer). we are now going to join flexicar this week. i've been putting it off cuz we've gotten by for 3 years without a car so it seems weird to pay around $12/hr ($80/day) to use a car but that does include petrol and insurance and all that so if we're just going to use it once a month for a few hours it definately is cheaper than owning a car plus from the environmental perspective it will end up saving petrol if we use it sometimes instead of getting family pick us up and coming out of their way to get/drop us off us always. this may make it easier for christmas too if we have access to our own car to get around to the different family things with my mom (i was gonna hire a "rent-a-bomb" for a week cuz they have cheap weekly rates for metropolitan driving but cuz me and my mom are going away with denise right after christmas there's no point in having a car around for a week).

Sunday, December 03, 2006

its summer!!

i completely forgot until i just saw it on another blog-- friday was officially the first day of summer here!! don't think it really matters much though. we're still gonna have 35C days one day 20C the next (i.e. friday was 30C, yesterday didn't even hit 20, today just slightly warmer--supposed to hit 20C-- and tomorrow is supposed to be 30 again).
its summer though. and 20 sleeps until my mom arrives!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

the countdown begins

today was preparing for the countdown to my mom's arrival (dec 23) and christmas. zac and i spent most of the hot day driving out to ikea to get shelving to help clean up the spare room, trying to find stuff (unsuccessfully) to clean up the backyard and preparing for our dog--- the landlord's mom (who lives next door) was out front when i came home when i came home from work the other nite. she told me to come in for some tea and biscuits (she's so sweet, every time she sees me she invites--read: insists-- i come in for tea. her husband was watching tv and said he'd talked to his daughter and the real estate agent (zac wrote a letter to the real estate agent the other day) and they were ok with us getting a small-medium sized dog. 8) so while we had the car today we got it a bed, dishes, a lead and some toys. we're looking for a small staffy or staffy x dog (we'd love to get a staffy-rottie cross but they're usually too big). we won't get one from a breeder or petshop either. we found a couple potential young staffys that we're gonna look at later this weekend (if its still available) or early next week (after the dog is flown in from perth or adelaide). when we got home i put up our tree (not really planning on it today but it is december 1 so i am allowed to play my christmas music and i figured why not get the tree out of the spare room and put it up). it is a bit weird decorating for christmas in a singlet and skirt and sweating in the 30C heat but that's christmas in oz. our tree is complete with all my special ornaments: the disneyland christmas ball from when i went to disneyland with a friend right before christmas when i lived in cali, the montana moose ball from the same christmas (i flew to montana christmas eve to spend christmas with a friend who got married 3 days after christmas), my julian apple from julian, california where i lived and worked for 18 months (the town was known for its apple pie, which i didn't actually try until a few days before i left. it was good though), my shiny koala in a santa hat engraved with "christmas 2003" (my first christmas here), our alaska bear ornament (we got it in alaska when we were there almost 18 months ago), the wooden platypus (from the wilderness shop in sydney when we were there last january) and all the little bells, "pressies" (pressents outside australia) and drums that denise bought me last year when she went to pick up our christmas tree for us. i picked up the star at ikea today-- an impulse buy item. i just liked the simple straw star.
Posted by Picasa

i also finally updated the critical mass post with some photos