Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yes, I Am a Procrastinator!

"All I have to do is find the disc with photoshop on it..." famous last words.
Um, hi! It's been a while!

Apparently digging through one box and searching through 3 discs of files is too much effort. hah. It took all of about 10 minutes. I've been putting it off and putting it off because it's the season of procrastination! I've been procrastinating about everything lately - like getting my Christmas cards and packages sent, finishing sewing Christmas presents etc. It was particularly bad this year (maybe because it's not -40 and dark?) and I had to force myself to do things that I normally don't mind doing. I hate when I do stuff like that because then I have to rush and get stuff done. It's also bad if you're living with other people and they're constantly asking you how x project or y project is going while you're sitting in front of a movie or taking another nap. Whoops. Planning for Christmas '10 starts now!! ('10 doesn't have the same nice ring to it that '09 [etc] does hmmm...)

So to update...

Paul Dempsey being awesome.

We went back into the city and saw the Myer windows for a second time (I went with Glen's mum, sister and the kids), we drove to Castlemaine to see Paul Dempsey do a solo show (it was AWESOME. I didn't think it was possible to love SFK/Paul Dempsey more than I did and I so do. Can't get enough!), and then had all sorts of family get-togethers for Christmas.

Very strange to be up on Christmas morning when it's light out! These were taken just after 8am.

Speaking of Christmas and get-togethers... It's weird for me to now be a part of a family that has both sides living within driving distance. This seems to be pretty common and makes things like Christmas a logistical nightmare for some families. Thankfully Glen's dad's side does a Christmas thing the week before otherwise I don't know what we'd do! Most people split the day between at least two sides (blended families makes things even more interesting), having breakfast/lunch with one side and then dinner with the other. We actually did meals at 3 different places this year (breakfast at Glen's sister's, lunch here then dinner with Glen's mum's family). Does anyone else do this or do you stick to one side per day? Growing up we went to my Grandma's house on Christmas Day (a few times on Boxing Day) and that was the extent of it.
The traditional turkey dinner is also out here. Dinner was cold meats, seafood and salads. No potatoes, stuffing or steamed veggies in sight! (Truthfully, I'm a bit sad. I love mashed potatoes and stuffing).

Glen looking thrilled to be up so early!

With Christmas came a flurry of sewing and I managed to finish the three quilts that have been hanging over my head for MONTHS. I was awesome and didn't take pictures of two of them and took a very bad, quickly posed picture of the third. I'll try to get over to Glen's sister's and take proper pictures of them on the kid's beds.

Quilt #3 with it's recipient.

We'll be house sitting for Glen's sister for all of January and then after that we'll hopefully be finding our own place. I'm looking forward to unpacking!!

Temperature: +19C
Sunrise: 5:57am
Sunset: 8:44pm

Monday, November 30, 2009

Formatted and Ready to Go!

Ok! So I bit the bullet and formatted the laptop. By doing that it - of course - solved all our problems. Once a computer gets all full of junk there's really only one way to get it working again.
The main problem was the "virtual memory" which means I didn't have enough RAM for what I
wanted to do. This was kind of a curious problem since I was only running Firefox.
Another curious problem occurred after we formatted and I went to get online... It wouldn't work. Glen set up a wireless network in the house a few days ago so he tried fiddling with that and it still didn't work. We hooked the computer up with the cord and the internet started work. Didn't do us much good when we wanted to be wireless... Anyway, we installed some updates and voilĂ ! It worked! Who knew you needed more than service pack 1 to use wifi (clearly not us)?

Anyway, all I have to do is find my photoshop disc and I'll be ready to do some serious posting.

(I don't know how people can format so often, it takes ages to set everything back up!!)

Sunrise: 5:52am
Sunset: 8:26pm

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Not That I Don't Have Anything to Say...

There has been a lot of exciting and fun stuff happening here but there's one problem -- my computer. I installed an update (I suspect flash) which has made my computer run like a snail. Because of that, when I type, the computer starts to lag and then Firefox throws a hissy fit and closes. It's VERY frustrating.

I'm going to format one of these days but I'm lazy. It's also one of my least favourite things to do.

For now I'll give you the list of exciting things and will hopefully follow up with pictures & a real post soon (of course I'm writing this now and the computer is FINE *rolls eyes*)

1. My stuff arrived! YAY! (nothing is missing or broken as far as I can tell)
2. Because of that, there has been knitting - yay!
3. Went to the city to see the Christmas tree and the Myer windows.
4. Got some awesome pictures of a sulphur crested cockatoo in the backyard (and fed him some seeds).
5. The weather here has been OUTRAGEOUSLY hot.

If I can figure out how to do a scheduled post I'd type up a few when the computer's not acting like an ass... Anyone know how to do it?

Temperature: +18C
Sunrise: 5:54am
Sunset: 8:20pm

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekends Away

It seems every few weeks Glen gets two (rarely three) days off in a row. We've decided to take advantage of this when we can (especially while I'm not working). This past weekend we decided to go to Wilsons Prom.

The spiky things are the flowering tops of grass trees. The flowering cycle is stimulated by bushfire. Wilsons Prom was affected by the February bushfires which damaged 25,200 hectares (50%) of the park.

Wilsons Prom is the southern most tip of the Australian mainland and the national park covers over 50,500 hectares. Wilsons Prom is a 3-4ish hour drive from Melbourne. We decided to stay in Foster (where we stayed in 2007) which is a nice little town about 45min from the park. We were originally planning on going to Phillip Island but there was some car racing thing going on so we decided to save that for another time.

We arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday and went straight to the beach. Squeaky Beach is probably my favourite beach (so far) for a few reasons. One is the wow factor. It has brilliant white sand and crystal clear water. Growing up, all the beaches I went to were covered with rocks/sticks and had seaweed and gross water. Swimming here can be hit and miss though. There can be strong currents and big waves. We were lucky that the two days we were there the water was pretty reasonable (we enjoy doing more jumping in the waves than actual swimming). We tried to do a bit of swimming at Tidal River on the second day but the water was pretty cold so we got out and went back to Squeaky Beach (otherwise Tidal River is the ideal swimming spot for safety reasons).

The cool thing about Squeaky Beach is the sand is made from rounded grains of quartz and when you walk on it, the grains rub together and squeak (a lot like really cold, packed snow does).

We managed to see some more wildlife on this trip and I got to cross off two more "quintessential Australalian animals" off my list.

We saw emus both days and besides crossing an animal off my mental list, I got to highlight it in my bird book! (I bought a bird book in 2007 and highlight birds I've seen in the wild). It goes without saying that they're HUGE. It was pretty weird to see them lumbering across the road and it's kind of hard to link them as being birds since they are SO massive and don't act like typical birds (y'know, sitting in trees and flying around!).

Can you spot the Emus?

We also managed to spot an echidna on the side of the road. Once it figured out that we had stopped the car and had gotten out it quickly made it's way into the bushes on the side of the road.

We picked a great weekend to go as the weather was fabulous and HOT (all the locals were saying that it was unusal for it to be so nice in November). When we heard the weather forecast we decided we wanted to be somewhere near the water so this trip definitely satisfied our being near the water requirement (we looked into going to a few other places but I think everyone had the same idea we did and we couldn't find anywhere to stay).

In other news, it looks like the weather in general is on the upswing and after weeks of me complaining about the cold (it's cold in the house when you don't have a furnace!) the house is anything but cool today.

Temperature: +34C
Sunrise: 6:05am
Sunset: 8:03pm

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gone to the Birds!

I think it could easily be said that I love bird watching. This is definitely something I have to thank my mum for. She has a keen eye for birds and always pointed out interesting ones on our walks or drives. A lot of our bird watching was done on our drives to Edmonton (45min north of where I grew up). It's a long stretch of mostly straight highway and a great spot for hawks and occasionally owls. Mum loves all birds but we seemed to do a lot of hawk watching which she seemed to excel at even while behind the wheel (my cousin once commented that she feared mum was spending more time hawk watching than paying attention to the road!).

A lot of die-hard bird enthusiasts might disagree with me when I say that birds in central Alberta are a bit boring. Sure we have blue jays but apart from that and a handfull of other birds, they lack a lot of bright, flashy colour.

Enter Australia. Land of exciting, technicolour birds!

Rainbow Lorikeets, Brimbank Park, Oct 27th 2009

Birds in Australia are for the most part, different. They are bright and of a variety that I'd previously only seen on TV, in zoos or in pet stores. This is what I like to call the "pretend bird" (kangaroos and koalas also qualify as "pretend animals"). That's the kind of bird that as a kid you could never imagine could actually live in the wild somewhere because they were just too awesome.
We had budgies and cockateils as pets growing up. Hi! They are wild here! (they also sell them in pet stores).

Red-rumped Parrot, Brimbank Park, Oct 27th 2009

I mentioned this a few posts ago but we've been trying to get out to the park by the house (google map Brimbank Park) as much as we can. We usually only make it on Glen's days off. Sometimes we'll dart over there after Glen gets off work for a quick walk.
This park is great for bird watching (there are also wallabies and a tonne of bunnies -- bunnies aren't looked upon very favourably here though) which is one reason why we keep going back.

So Glen had the day off yesterday and after going on some other adventures (we drove out to Sunbury) we made our way to the park. The first half of the walk was fairly uneventful. We went a different way than usual (we still haven't walked all the trails!) and mostly saw magpies. Once we hooked up with more familiar trails, we found ourselves in the "Rainbow Lorikeet Area" (ie: the place in the park where there are always TONNES of them).
Rainbow Lorikeets are tricky things to get pictures of. For one, they love to be high up in the trees and they seem to always be sitting in awkward places (photography wise). Behind branches or their favourite - in front of the sun so that they're back-lit. An interesting thing about them is that the colour of their feathers absorbs light instead of reflecting it making it even harder to get a clear picture (you should see how many pictures I have where the tree/etc looks great but the bird is too dark).

So we walked along the trail and stopped every so often to crane our necks to watch the lorikeets and then we saw a kookaburra! It was sitting fairly low in a tree which meant it was a great place to stand and watch it and take pictures.

Kookaburra, Brimbank Park, Oct 27th 2009

This part of the park has a "rabbit proof fence" so I couldn't get much closer (the fence only succeeds in keeping the people out as the rabbits have found ways to get through!). Glen walked a little ways down the trail while I was taking pictures then came to get me to tell me that there were some lorikeets low in a bush/tree and they should be in good picture taking range. Sure enough they were! I took a few pictures and then they flew even closer onto a branch right in front of me! Since I've been after a decent picture of these birds, it was quite a satisfying moment.

Rainbow Lorikeets, Brimbank Park, Oct 27th 2009

After our jaunt through the park we decided to try our luck at finding some Galahs, so we drove out to a place where Glen said they usually hang out but no luck. But the trip wasn't a total bust because we saw a bird that we'd never seen before - the Purple-crowned Lorikeet. We didn't realise what they were until we did a bit of research at home. All we knew was that we'd never seen them before and they were a type of parrot. They were very high up in a tree so I got a few pictures and once we were home, we zoomed (way) in to see if we could get any more identifying marks. The pictures weren't great but it was enough to help us narrow things down and finally make an identification. Exciting!

So that's pretty much what I'm doing in my spare time! Staring up into trees with my camera and bird book. I think the next thing I need is a pair of binoculars for when the birds are too high (an extra 100-200mm zoom wouldn't hurt either... I'm coveting a few lenses!).

Temperature: +19C
Sunrise: 6:18am
Sunset: 7:50pm

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bit of an Update + Pictures!

I've been here for just over a month now!
I've been doing a lot of hanging out while Glen has been at work. I haven't gotten too adventurous yet though. I'm mostly hanging out at home or with Glen's sister and her kids.

Glen had three days off work a few weeks ago and we took a drive down the Great Ocean Road. The weather was kind of miserable but it was a great drive and great to get away. The highlight of the trip was all the koalas we saw!

We turned off the Great Ocean Road to drive down to the Cape Otway lighthouse and along that road were close to a dozen koalas in the trees. Some had their babies with them as well!

It was really windy at the Twelve Apostles which kept the crowds down but the unfortunate thing was that all the sea spray kept blowing up onto the lens so I have a lot of pictures with water spots on them.

We stayed in Anglesea which is pretty famous for having kangaroos all over their golf course. We drove out and took a look at them (some of them had babies too!). Luckily they were close to the parking lot because you're not allowed to go traipsing through the golf course to look at them (some golf courses back home have walking trails around them).

I got a letter in the mail last week that my stuff was getting close to arriving! In the letter it told me the name of the ship my stuff was on and I'm able to track it! When I checked last week the ship had already made it to New Zealand and as of this morning it has arrived in Melbourne! I don't know how long it takes once the ship is here but I should have my stuff soon!

That's a bit of an update for now! I'm going to try to get better at posting on a regular basis!

Temperature: +16C
Sunrise: 6:23am
Sunset: 7:46pm

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Settling In!

Well, I'm here!
I arrived on the morning of the 22nd of September. Clearing customs and all that sort of thing was a breeze - I arrived on a plane full of New Zealanders so the line up for non-Australians/New Zealanders wasn't very long. From the time the plane landed, it took about 40 minutes to go through customs and get my luggage.

I've been busy doing all the things one needs when they move to a new country:
Opened a bank account
Applied for Medicare (that had to wait until I was in the country for 5 business days)
Switched my driver's license over (no test or anything!)
Applied for a tax file number (like a SIN in Canada)
Got a new phone

Glen got a job just after I left Inuvik so he's been busy working. He had three days off when I first arrived and is getting three days off in a row this week (otherwise I don't think he's had two days off in a row since I got here) so we're going to go stay in Anglesea and drive down the Great Ocean Road.

We haven't done too much otherwise. We're trying to get over to the big park near the house as much as we can (on Glen's day off and if he's only working till 6) to go for walks, we've been bowling and to see a movie. I've been into the city twice (that's what they call the downtown) and yesterday went to a craft expo with Glen's mum.

I'm hoping to get back into regular posting mode soon!

Yellow-tailed black Cockatoo
(photographed in the park by the house)

Temperature: +18C
Sunrise: 6:43am
Sunset: 7:42pm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Life in 30 Boxes...

Well, I figured because the blog is actually "From the Arctic to Australia" I should have a post about getting to Australia.

Today the movers came and took my boxes. It's a weird sense of panic and relief to watch those boxes get loaded onto the truck... Will I ever see them (all) again? Will anything be broken? Did I impulse pack and take too much?

Ptarmi and the boxes

Tomorrow (well, technically today) is my last full day in the Arctic. I'm having some definite mixed feelings about this. It's my home and when am I ever going to be back? I've made some friends here and - obviously care about them - especially the residents at work. I've been one of the only people that has been a constant in their life for the last few years. I've definitely come to the point where I need a break in my job though. As much as I care for the residents, it's definitely time for something else.

Anyway! I don't know if I'll be able to update again before I get to Australia so if not, I'll update once I'm there and settled so check back!

Temperature: +5C
Sunrise: 7:01am
Sunset: 10:46pm

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Coming Soon!

I will arrive in Australia on September 22nd, 2009.

Please check back for the next chapter in my adventures!