Showing posts from September, 2011


Phil and I have been exploring our new neighborhood with pleasant weekend bike rides. I started noticing something interesting on our travels - almost every house in our area has two large pots displayed in front. The more I looked, the more I found, the more I started liking this trend. The size, shape, and colors of the pots vary, the plants inside the pots vary, but they all have two pots, usually surrounding the door. So I figured we might as well try and blend in, and I started the search for the perfect pots.

What I soon found out though was finding the pots wasn't the problem, it was finding the perfect plant. We discovered that we had no clue what the plants were at the local stores. For the most part they were native plants that we have not really seen before. We randomly chose some short bushy things, found our pots, and transplanted away.

The more we got to know the area, the more we started to realize what a horrible mistakewe had made. We started realizing that t…

Thirty Shmirty

I didn't mind turning 30. I figured moving to Australia before I hit that milestone meant I wasn't doing too bad. So far though I'm not so impressed with this being 30 business.

It started on my birthday. I had to schedule a customer meeting on that day and ended up working late. So much for dinner plans! Throw in the pouring rain and a very cold day and it wasn't much to remember. Phil told me that turning 30 meant I had to be an adult, but at the time I thought (or hoped) he was joking.

I had to be an adult again today when I realized that I would not be able to make it to Grandpa Dick's funeral. I had a ticket booked but then found out that the funeral was scheduled for a week later than originally planned. Between prior plans and outrageous fares those days I finally realized that I just wasn't going to be able to go. Fortunately I was able to cancel my flight, but it was a rather frustrating realization. Being an adult is no fun. Sure we can affor…

RIP Grandpa Dick

Just got word from my dad that his step-father Grandpa Dick just passed away. Yesterday he checked himself into hospice, and in a way I am very glad that he didn't last much longer. He was the sort of man who never wanted to be a burdon on anyone and once he made the decision to enter hospice he just wanted to be done. He was a very good man and took good care of my grandmother. He never wanted anything in return, and always seemed surprised when we treated him just like we would a full-fledged grandfather. When I was younger he used to act in local productions and got great joy from the stage. He had a gift for plants and their backyard was always beautiful. The hard part about living so far away is I'm not sure what to do in a situation like this. It's the time where it's nice to be close to family, but who knows how many thousands of dollars a trip back would be a week out, plus that's two full days worth of travel. I suppose I knew when I made the decisi…


I remember 10 years ago waking up in my room in my parents' house at 6 am to my mom telling me to turn on the tv. From that little 13" box I watched the story of 9-11 unfold, and now from the other side of the world I am watching the 10th anniversary in much the same way. It is interesting seeing the effects of that day on another country. In many ways Australia was affected in the same way the US was, Australian soldiers are fighting and dieing right along side of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. People are much more sensitive to the possibility of terrorism amidst everyday life. But in other ways things are very different here. You don't need to show picture ID to get on an airplane. You can wear your shoes when you walk through the security gates. People can wait right outside the gate for their loved ones to arrive. Being so used to certain security measures, it's a little unnerving getting on an airplane here now. Regardless of the similaritie…

Strange Customs

When I was at the airport in Port Moresby, I saw a wooden statue that I thought was really neat and worth the trisk trying to take it through Australian customs. I declared it and went up to the customs officer to have it inspected. He asked me if I made the trip often, and then proceeded to show me what to look for with wooden items. Apparently holes the size of the end of a ball point pen are sure signs of bug infestation. The guy told me that once the bugs get inside someone's house, they spread and quickly eat everything made of wood. He also told me that if I make the trip back again and purchase any jewelry made from shells, to watch out for small grey round ones because those are seeds that they are required to destroy. It was a very strange customs inspection indeed.

Papua New Guinea

I have to admit I was a little freaked out that I'd be travelling to Papua New Guinea for work. Between the Hep A shot, the Typhoid shot, the Malaria pills, and the unknown of staying at a worker camp in the middle of nowhere, there was a lot to worry about. Fortunately it wasn't that bad and certainly turned out to be a worthwhile experience. When we landed in Port Moresby, we were instantly blanketed with sufficating humidity and the smell of people who don't shower. We had to walk to the domestic terminal where we went through several primitive security check points before we could check in. There, I realized that the "airline" we were flying on was solely for the purpose of flying people in to work on the site we were going to visit. We had a brief hour-long flight on a small plane from Port Moresby to the Moro airstrip, which consisted of a dirt landing strip set in a valley in the middle of the rain forrest. We got off the plane and were ushered into…

The Gang's All Here

When Phil put George in his crate on Friday, that cat must have been convinced he was being put on another plane. We let him out in the house and he slinked around very slowly, smelling everything with a very concerned look on his face. He relaxed more as he started smelling familiar things from his old house, and clearly he wasn't too tramatized because 15 minutes later he had found a nice sunny patch on the quilt I'm working on and started taking a nap. He has been extremely cuddly and has been following us around the house. Maybe was super excited to leave quarantine. When we got in the car she immediately sat in the seat on the right. We're trying to teach her that she now sits on the left, but this clearly confuses her. When we brought her home George greeted us at the door, and Maybe enthusiastically gave him a thorough inspection. Then she went running from room to room trying to figure out what was going on. She had a big smile on her face when we let her …