Showing posts from 2016

Jakarta Jaunt

A couple weeks ago I went back to Jakarta for work.  The flight up turned out to be quite an interesting one.  I decided to use some points to upgrade and got to sit in the business section.  It was a nice treat to have a seat that reclined in all different directions and to be waited on throughout.  But unfortunately I didn't get to choose my neighbour.  From the minute I sat down he was saying "ay ay ay" really loudly.  He was 78, Egyptian, and just on a different level.  When the meals came out he spilled his first glass of red wine all over.  I handed him my napkin, and he started praying for me and then made me clink glasses with him over the barrier once he got a refill.  Later on, I got up to use the toilet but had to pause when I lifted the lid.  There was something odd at the bottom of the bowl, so I got the flight attendants so I didn't make the situation worse.  My crazy neighbour dude had just been in there and had fallen in the aisle on the way back to h…

Halfway There!

Today we reached a big milestone in the house building journey - the land settled.  As of 2 pm today, we became 20% owners of this beautiful block of weeds!  All thanks to some fluke timing and a chat while looking at a display home, some texts, and a large pile of money.

It's funny how painless and straight forward buying the land was compared to finalising a house design.  We're still working with the custom builder on potential house designs.  We got the preliminary design the other day, and it made me feel like we had taken a few steps backwards again.  The dream kitchen layout was missing, and we seemed to have gained a laundry room and lost a bedroom.  The way this builder prices the house by the square meter means the extra space that doesn't make sense gets quite spendy.  So we had a meeting with the salesman and draftsman and sent them back to the drawing board.  I'm hoping the next iteration is more in line with what we're looking for, because the last thi…

Black Cockatoos

We had an unexpected surprise tonight when Phil heard the distinctive sounds of a black cockatoo.  We are used to frequent visits from the noisy local flock of sulphur crested cockatoos, have only seen a few of the black birds from far away in the mountains.  He told me to grab the camera, and we quickly ran outside to watch them.  There were four flapping around in the trees, and one of them was even feeding another.  They hung around for about ten minutes before they did a dramatic fly over and flew away.  It was so wonderful to see them from our suburban back yard!

Third House is a Charm

The journey to building a house isn't quite what we thought it would be.  We found a builder and house design we liked fairly quickly, and put the deposit down to start on a January build.  The house had the required downstairs guest bedroom and bathroom, a living area that could easily be turned into a bike shop, and of course a massive sewing room with the rumpus room and 5th bedroom combined.  The kitchen was beautiful and the pantry was a great size.
The following morning, we got the news that the house couldn't be built on our lot because it interfered with the North facing sun the neighbouring lot is entitled to by 200 mm.  We were disappointed, but started looking at Plan B options and came up with a good one.  This house was a tiny bitty smaller, but had an even better kitchen than the first house.  The bike room wasn't quite as good, but it was something Phil decided he would still be happy with.  We spent a couple weeks working with the builder to get the options …

I Voted! (8 Times!)

I voted today!  8 times!  
This is the first US presidential election where ballets have been sent to overseas voters by email.  You can't actually submit your vote by email though because apparently email is not secure enough.  The options - Mail or Fax.  Yes, fax.  Not sure how fax is more secure than email, but maybe that's something that our presidential candidates could have considered when they were sending old-fashioned emails back in the day ;)
Has anyone actually tried faxing anything in the last 20 years?  Let alone fax something to an international number?  It's not exactly easy...  There's a large quantity of zeros and ones involved, and then the machine beeps and whistles while you stare it it wondering if it's working.  And it keeps making those sounds for about thirty minutes until you give up and walk away.  Just at that moment it usually prints out a piece of paper saying the transmittal failed and you have to start over.  

So I tried that yesterday, …

Our Piece of the "Australian Dream"

Today we bought a little rectangle of swamp land.  It doesn't look like much now, but hopefully by this time next year it will be our beautiful new home.

A couple weeks after we got our citizenship we decided it was time to start looking at buying a house.  We talked about putting together a two year plan to buy something, and then that following Tuesday I started looking at stuff to get an idea of price.  And then all of a sudden we were looking at open houses that following Saturday and realizing that it made much more sense to buy land and build a new house in our current area than it did to buy an existing property closer to my work.  The stuff near work was small, run down, and expensive, where a new build would cost less and would be exactly what we want.  We were already used to commuting to the suburbs and like the area, so we weren't going to have to make a huge lifestyle change.

As much as it makes me nervous to think we could be buying at the top of a property market …

My Journey to Kona

Last weekend I went to Kona for the Ironman.  Well, sort of.  And my Ironman Husband is really jealous that I made it there before him.  

I wanted to do something to commemorate our citizenship at the end of May so figured making a quilt for Aussie Hero Quilts would be a great way to do that.  When I saw the request for an Ironman (Triathlon) quilt, I knew I had to do that one.

We looked through swim bike run images and finally found one that would lend well to cutting and tracing.  Phil sized it up and printed it out and I ran with that as the pattern.  I wanted to make it simple, because a triathlon is complicated enough on its own.  I stuck with a plain black background and appliqu├ęd the swim, bike, and run graphics staggered in a diagonal across the length.  Then I added the Ironman wording along the side.  I finished it off with some simple straight line quilting and backed it with a nice soft grey shot cotton.  I packaged it up and sent it off, hoping it would make it safely to th…

New Zealand Trip - Waitomo

It was a pretty drive from Lake Taupo to our final stop, Waitomo.  Lots of green hills, green mountains, green everywhere.  
It was raining in Waitomo, but the forecast had been for rain on this day when I started planning the trip so it was no surprise.  That's why I saved Waitomo for that day, who cares if it's raining when you're in a cave.  Phil and I had been here before to see the caves and the glow worms that live in them.  That time we went black water rafting, where we donned wet suits and floating through the caves on inner tubes.  This time we took a slightly tamer approach and sat in a boat as we floated through the caves.  

We walked through the caves first and got to see some interesting formations.  Then we silently boarded the boat and looked up in amazement.  The glow worms were light blue, and it looked like the night sky inside.  It's such a unique experience that can't really be described.  What I really enjoyed about this boat trip though was wat…