Friday, July 15, 2011

Things I have learned whilst living in Oz...

         Every now and then as I am going about my life here in Australia something funny comes to mind and I have always thought, ok I really need to do a blog post about that... Well I have put it off, and off and off again, big surprise right, you all know me so well...  Well finally here I am, in a pretty great mood ready to share these helpful and handy bits of information with you.  Slowly, but surely I am falling in love with this funny place, and finding more than one thing pretty great...  It certainly helps that the man of my dreams calls Australia home and spent his days as an adorable little boy and handsome young man here on these very shores becoming the man I was destined to love...  But enough of that sugary, lovey lovey stuff... Here are some things I have learned so far...

1.  Australian men are VERY comfortable, and see absolutly NOTHING wrong with wearing very short shorts... And this does not take away from their rugged manliness... no not at all... Infact the most manly of them all from the legendary Steve Irwin to their idolized footy players like Darren Lockyer wear them.  I don't think american men would get this concept, or be ok in something so short... but somehow, these Aussie men pull it off...
Steve Irwin

Darren Lockyer doin' his thing...

2.  No matter how much I think I have become used to driving on the wrong side of the road... and having the steering wheel on the other side of the car... when it is pouring buckets of rain outside and I am running to the car I ALWAYS suddenly, and completly forget which side to hop in at...  And I think this problem will probably follow me to my grave... sigh.

3.  If you are in a large group of people and someone shouts, "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!"... if you want to fit in and not look like a TOTAL moron... be ready to shout back as loud as you can, "Oiy!! Oiy!! Oiy!!"... just do it, trust me.

4.  Sweet chili sauce + Sour cream + hot chips = Heaven...

5.  Round abouts... hmm... they work.  I like them quite a bit actually... If you don't know what you are doing though... you might die, and take some others with you... 

6.  Don't go outdoors in the summer at night time... unless you want to be greated by creatures of all kinds, usually two the three times bigger than what you are used to.
A huge moth I think...

A big cricket...

7.  While cooking... I have now unfortunatley become dependent on a myriad of choices of sugar that Australian grocery stores provide:  plain white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, caster sugar, icing sugar, raw caster sugar, raw icing sugar, dusting sugar... and the list goes on and on... I'm SURE I've forgotten some.  And when I find myself back in the states... I don't know what I'll do when the only two choices I have are white or brown sugar! Ah! hehe...
Ah... Sugar! Dun.. dun.. dun.. dun... dun.. dun Ah Honey! Honey!

8.  To talk Australian, simply cut every word in half and add an "o" at the end... including people's names... "We'll see you this ARVO", "AVO'S only 1$ per KILO!!", "I need to renew my REGO", "Hey, how's it goin' Dame O?", "When's the GABO commin?", "Hey Brook O!", "How's the RENO goin?"... IT.  IS.  HILLARIOUS.  And yes... I have started doing it without realising...

        Well... there ya have it... some delightful little tid bits and observations from this american girl...  I'm more than sure that I will collect more as the days pass on... even remember ones I wanted to write in here and forgot to.  But for now, I hope you all enjoyed those little hints, tips, clues, and humorous observations!  America is my country, but Australia is quickly becoming my hometown... :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pirate King Shirley... and other such wonderfulness...

            Ok, one thing I learned on our week long family cruise was that some of the funnest and most moments were unplanned.  One of these moments occured on a night when I was feeling not too great and after tucking our girls into bed in our cabin we headed out with our books and some cocoa mix ready to just sit around like an old couple drinking our hot chocolate on a deck somewhere and reading...  Well long story short, we ended up in one of my favorite places on the ship called "The Dome" dancing under strobe lights to a live band that played everything from "Love Shack" to "Lady Gaga's Bad Romance"... our books and cocoa were left untouched on a nearby table.  Having five kids Mick and I had never had the chance to go out dancing like this, so to put it lightly... I freaking loved it :) 
Us ready to dance at the Dome


Me on another night outside the Dome

            Another great memory, probably my favorite of the entire trip was when we went to the "Pirate Show" in the international show lounge.  Once again, that night we weren't even planning on going to the show.  Wendy and Jeff had volunteered to take our girls to see the fun singing and dancing Pirate Show put on by the cruise entertainers, which we all knew the kids would thouroughly enjoy while Mick and I were wanting to go check out the Kareoke scene...  Well last minute we ended up changing out minds and staying for the pirate show... and man oh man I am glad we did... because if we hadn't I would have never met Pirate King Shirley... the SEXIEST pirate alive. 
       During these performances they love to include the audience and pull people up onto the stage etc... And as the show went on they had done it several times, forcing people to compete in funny pirate themed competions while the audience would cheer them on such as catching fish and drinking the "rum", revealing the pirate map and finding the treasure etc...  Throughout the show I kept looking next to me at Mick who seemed pretty worn out and tired after a long day.  So when the lead pirate wench shouted out to the audience that she needed some strong burely men for the next competition I jokingly looked over at Mick and said, "Your a strong, burely man!"... which Jeff, who was sitting behind me heard, as well as our girls who were sitting all around us.  So when the pirates started scouting through the audience everyone in our row started pointing over to Mick and shouting, "take him! take him!"... and before I or Mick new it he was being carted up onto the stage!  I felt a bit bad for him when this happened, having seen only a few minutes before how worn out and tired he was...  But he took it well... Well BETTER than well! 
        When the pirate captain went over to ask Mick what his name was, before Mick could answer he pulled the microphone away from Mick and said, Shirley?...  Soon they started a contest between him and the other poor man brought up onto the stage to see who could put on their pirate clothes the fastest, and I started frantically trying to take pictures.  Then to my surprise Mick won!  And the whole group of entertainers broke out in song about Pirate King Shirley as they adorned him with a cape and everything... Then it got even better as I got to watch the pirate wench wrap Mick's arms around her and sing "A little less conversation, a little more action"... hmmm....  But truely the part that made it all so fun was when Mick broke out into his very own dance and the crowd just broke into applause for their awesome Pirate King Shirley...  It was a hillarious night and later on we heard that some people actually had thought he was a planned part of the show because he had been so entertaining! 
          Later after the cruise was over and all of us where deboarding the ship some fellow passengers recognised Mick and shouted over to him "Hey! It's Pirate King Shirley!"... Such a great memory.
Mick up on stage

Pirate King Shirley all dressed up...
The girls with Mick

Me getting my smooch from the Pirate King...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Cruisin' Experience...

         Ok so here I am finally posting my first of several cruise blogs...  This last week Mick and I, Lucy, Esther, and Taylah went on a seven day cruise with Mick's parents and two of Mick's brothers and their wives and kids...  It was a big, super-duper Travis holiday extravaganza... Mick and I still think we all should have had matching t-shirts or something...  (I guess this is something us "americans" do)
         So the day before the cruise we were madly packing trying to make sure we had everything we would need for our week long party...  Mick and I ended up staying up way too late trying to get all the loose ends tied before bed.  The next morning we had to wake up at 4:30 am to make it out to get Mick's parents on time and then up to Brisby to get on the boat.  Mick and I were exhausted but very excited all the same.

Getting ready to get on the boat.

A view of one of the top decks
        Because we got to the boat so early we were able to be some of the first passengers on board which was nice...
So this being my very first cruise experience ever I have made a few interesting observations:
1.  Holy Cow being on a boat, walking on a boat... trying to dance on a boat... take a shower on a boat is a very wobbly experience!  We had abnormally rough seas and sometimes we would go up to the upper decks and look down at the water and see these gigantic waves crashing into the boat... and boy you certainly do feel them!!!  There was more than one commical time when I would simply be trying to walk down the hall and end up walking diagonally and almost falling over!  Or even just trying to walk across our little cabin...  you kind of just felt like a drunk trying to walk around all the time.
2.  With all of that rocking... yeah... you do get sea sick.  I mean don't get me wrong... this was such a fun experience... but yes... I did get sick and had a particularly bad night but by the next morning felt a ton better... After that, the nausea came every now and then as the rocking just never stops... but we all had brought a lot of medication to help combat the sea sickness... Including ground ginger that I would sprinkle into my drinking water... hahah... No, not yummy... but better than getting sick.
Waiting to get off the boat at one of the ports... feeling a bit sea sick.

3.  On a cruise you eat A LOT.  The cool part about eating on a cruise is that there were two places we could choose to go to and eat and it was completly free.... well... you know, already covered in our passenger expence.  One was the upstairs "Lido Buffet" and the other was the more elegant Palm Court Restraunt.  The kids loved the buffet as they could line up and grab all kinds of yummy food... and as much as they wanted too.  And the adults certainly prefered going to the more relaxed environment (and very good food) of the restruant.  Toward the end of the cruise we pretty much were eating at the Palm Court restraunt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
         At the restraunt since it was already paid for etc we could order anything and as much as we wanted... two appetizers, a salad, a main meal, soup... and as Wendy taught us: two desserts!  It was also the perfect situation to let the kids try out some new foods and practice ordering in a nice restraunt.  It is funny though... with all of this food... Mick and I found that by the end of the seven days we were freaking SICK AND TIRED of eating!  We wanted to go home and not eat for a loooong time... hahaha!  Also, I found that I needed to be very vigillant about what and how much I ate so I didn't get sick again!  It is a difficult balance...

Chocolate walnut pie with carmel drizzle...

Taylah eating some eggs for breaky...
Having some lunch

Fish dish...
The girls scarfing down their grub

Mmmmm!  See!  Mick ordered two desserts... yum!
Craziness outside the Palm Court before lunch...

The adult kids enjoying a quiet dinner without our kids!  Yay!
4.  Ok so my last observation about cruising is... I now get the joke when someone says, "hello I will be your cruise director for the evening" because the cruise director's job is pretty much making sure that life is a non-stop party...  Especially in the evenings we could go out wandering all over the ship from one party to the next... whether it was dancing up in the dome, or doing Kareoke down in one of the bars, or watching a performance in the show lounge, or just simply kicking back and relaxing....
       All in all it was so much fun and I am so happy Mick and I and three of our girls got to go.  I have so many favorite moments from the trip that I will share in more detail in my next few blogs! 


OK i have been wanting to see Brooke perform in front of an audience for
some time now. well actually since i met her. So on the cruise we got the
opportunity as they had karaoke pretty much every night. Now Brooke has not
sung in front of people for a very long time so she was nervous but with much
convincing and lots of encouragement she was able to get up.

this is Brooke's first performance.

i was so proud of Brookie i had a smile from ear to ear. she was
amazing. however i was not satisfied with just on performance.

Brooke used to sing this song to me over skype. she did not tell me
which one she was going to sing but once she started i was well overwhelmed. i
was so excited that she could just get up and sing such amazing notes i wanted
to join her so i could experience this with her. however i suck when it comes
to singing. i am very much tone deaf. anyway the excitement of it all got too
much for me and i just could not help myself.

Brooke's and my duet. oh look out for the leprechaun towards the end of
this song...

and finally all of the cousins wanted to sing a song with Brooke. so her
final song was love story with the kids

I had so much fun. i wanted to do this with Brooke so much and pretty
much hassled her every night till we got to do it. i cant wait to do it again
soon. and Once Brooke started singing she could not stop. She love it. Welcome
back Brooke.