April 29, 2010

Interviews, Chinese Food and Studying :)

I had an interview yesturday. I haven't said too much about it, only because I don't want to jinx myself.... All I'm going to say is it went really well but I have no idea how it will turn out. Maybe I'll get it and maybe I won't. Cross your fingers.

After the interview Jess and I ran up to her folks again so she could offload a few things and visited with her parents for a bit. Her dad is going to come up Friday with the truck to haul all the stuff from here and hold on to it overnight until we get into the new apartment on Saturday. Unfortunately the timing wasn't quite right on the move out of one...move into the other....

After that we had Chinese for dinner with Zak and it was very yummy.... I love Chinese food....

Then it was off to the college so Jess could finish her art work in printmaking. I spent my time catching up some more in my written journal and later as she studied her for her math final I finished notes on one of my EMT-B book chapters.

All in all it was a pretty productive day yesturday!

This morning, after like four hours sleep, I had to suck it up and get up for a pre-employment drug test. It still doesn't mean I have the job.... but it's a step in the right direction.

And now that I'm done putting up some pics on Facebook and writing this... it's time for the mad dash to get stuff clean and packed in this apartment! Yay!


April 27, 2010

Storms, Cleaning, Writing and Opportunity

So many bits to write about....

For two days here we had some pretty interesting weather going on. First we had an evening of thunderstorms with a lot of lightning, which was nice because I was able to take a few interesting photos. Not the best view from this place but still happy I finally saw a decent storm.

The next day we were in the red all day for severe weather and ended up under a Tornado and Severe T'Storm watch for most of the day. By mid-day, things got very interesting. Without any warning, the sirens started going off. At first I thought maybe it was a drill but knew that most places won't drill on days with watches in the area. So, I text Zak, since he's lived here practically his whole life and would know if they were testing them or not (plus i had no net for the afternoon and couldn't just look it up either). Zak text back and said that yeah there was a warning and that they'd listed all the towns around us but not Maryville... go figure :P

It wasn't too long before they sounded the all clear, which is the same here as anywhere else I've lived. If the sirens go off and it's a straight wail, it's a tornado warning, if it is a broken up and down wail, it's an all clear.

Found out later that there was very good reason for the sirens to be used, even if they did go off after the fact.....

Watch here:

Turns out some cheeky kids on the NW campus got a funnel cloud on camera, which was maybe 8 blocks from here? I'm very VERY jealous!!! Hope we get a lot more cool storms this summer :)
The only pic I got during that was one with nothing in it but some dodgy looking clouds:
Oh well, better luck next time. I'm looking forward to getting a weather radio again so I know what is going on even without internet.

I've been going through Jess's room cleaning and organizing at my leasure. I've got about half of it done. I'm hoping later today to get the rest of it finished. Then we'll get to start worrying about packing stuff for the new place. Yay....... heh.

I've been working on my notes for my EMT-B textbook as well as highlighting stuff right in the book (i bought it so why not right?) and also doing chapter quizzes and reviews too. I've been also working on catching up my written journal that I barely worked on in Australia. Because I was blogging online I pretty well neglected the real one. I like to have it all in a real journal though... been writing in them since I was like ten? I've been copying stuff from my online blog right into it so it's not too hard, just time consuming and hard on the hands. Started my new one as well, so the last one I am catching up will end the day I landed here and the new one will start fresh back in the US.

So I've been keeping myself fairly busy with little things for now. Jess has Sims 2 so I've been monkeying around with that. I should create one huge house again with all of us like I had before, that was SO funny with the little screen shots and stories we had on my Elton John website at the time :P Oh yeah, I also have my first job interview tomorrow. I don't want to say too much about it yet though because I don't want to jinx myself again ;)

A few more pics for Tracey:
Heading out of Maryville and into the countryside...

A bit of a bigger truck than they have in Australia :P

Iowa!!! ;)

That's it for now,

April 23, 2010

Might Get A Storm Today

Last couple days have been good. I'm been using my time to apply for loads of jobs, including Walmart, Taco Bell, Taco John's, etc.... I'll take anything I can get right now. Something is better than nothing and then you can look for more right? It shits me though that my resume is a file type that apparently no company website likes so I end up having to apply the long way by typing everything in....

I've also been reading through the Missouri Driver's Manual. Very exciting stuff..... kidding....

The other day Jess and I drove out to her parents house. It's in Iowa, just over the border, so it doesn't take long to get there. I took a lot of video to put together a quick little vid to show my Aussie friends, I'll work on mixing that today to share on here. Her folks are wonderful. Very down to earth, laid back, good humor and that great Midwestern hospitality. They remind me so much of my Father's side of my family. I think that everyone in the middle Illinois and Missouri area have just that certain type of character though.

We ended up hauling some of Jess's stuff back with us, including a lot of her EJ stuff which was fun to go through :D Especially a huge picture book she has on him...omg I want one!

Wednesday night we got ourselves right into mischief with way too much wine and music playing and we were pulling out the EJ and MJ stuff and having great conversations and it was just a fun time. We also cooked and Jess spent a bunch of time cleaning her keyboard from home....she was on a mission to get it sparkling.... :P In the end we stayed up almost the entire night. Made for a very dodgy day Thursday, being tired, hungover, the room was a mess..... And what a trooper she was she had class and school work and had to work! Cripes!

I just hope that the work gods grace me with a job soon! I'm getting a little bored and stir crazy and really wanting my own income.


PS: Watching for storms today. Might see my first really good one in years. We are in the 'red' for supercell activity this arvo and tonight.... you know me, I will take vid or pics if we get anything.

PSS: The pic is for Tracey. Tracey this was the food I had at the Mexican joint here. It's a chimichanga with rice and refried beans. Was SO nice.... but you know, not very nice to me back..... having massive GI concerns now today...... stupid spice intolerance....

April 18, 2010

Finally rested and ready to go.

Say hello to my little buddy ;) I hadn't seen a squirrel in almost a year until just the other day. The window was open and I could hear this little noise and I thought, what is that?? I turned around and this is what I saw.... He was just hanging out and snacking away :)

I finally have caught up and slept in a somewhat normal time frame last night. I fell asleep around 3am and slept until around 9:30 am. Not quite right but so much better. I don't feel so exhausted today.

I'm getting things in order today so I can go to the job center tomorrow and get myself some work. There's a few jobs I've been eyeing that have been open for a while so I'm hoping it will be much easier here to land one.

Everyone cross their fingers ;)

Yesterday was fun. Zak, Jess and I went to St. Joseph. He had to have his phone looked at and then we wanted to roam around and look at stuff. There's so many stores I haven't seen in a while. Plus, in like two weeks, we are moving into a different place and so we were getting some ideas as well. Pier 1 and Bed, Bath and Beyond were a lot of fun to look in. So many neat things. We think between Jess and myself that we could make some of that stuff though. Same with second hand furniture, we can fix it up and stain/repaint, etc.

We also hit a couple books stores and I went nuts looking at photography books like I do. They had some really nice stuff there including books on Ansel Adams who's one of my all time favorites. We also went crazy in the art store.... looking at so much stuff. There are a lot of things I'd like to try, but I need to pick one thing to start with.... thinking possibly scrapbooking.... so I can get all this stuff from AUS done up. We'll see....

Eventually we went to eat and we went to a place called Ryan's and have a massive buffet dinner... there was like 6 rows of food! We all ate until pretty well stuffed. Was making jokes about having to be rolled out the door.... I had to plates of food and then dessert.... had steak, mashed potatoes, chicken, a bit of fish, cream corn, mac & cheese, coleslaw, like three other pasta dishes and then had vanilla wafers in banana pudding for dessert. Was all so yummy! Not really used to eating like that anymore! Jess took a picture of some of the food and I had her take a pic of the stuff on the side of the table, because in Australia they don't have like ketchup, A1 sauce, hot sauce, etc on the side of each table in bottles... so I'll have to post that later :)


April 17, 2010

Back In America

I can't believe my year (almost year) in Australia has finally come to an end. Where did the time go??? Seriously! It seems like just recently I was exploring my new environment with all it's new sounds and scenes....and now I'm doing it again ;)

My travels were long but they went well. As soon as I got to Sydney Airport my flight was delayed an hour. Later I was told it was because our plane was arriving from Singapore and was late coming in, so everything was behind a bit.

It was okay though. Tracey, Bruce & I got something to eat from Red Rooster, which was cool because it was an Aussie fast food joint I had not tried during my time there. It was very good! Then we got coffee and cookies which were really yummy. We chatted about my journey and about their upcoming holidays and plans. We also stopped in a small shop to see what perfumes they had, but Bruce was like, just wait until you get past customs and see the duty free shops...it's huge. (he sure wasn't exaggerating either!)

Finally it was getting close to the three hours since we had gotten a parking ticket and I told them I was going to head into customs. Under three hours park at Sydney Airport is like $29....after three hours it jumps to $54 which is just madness, so I didn't want them getting out of there late (i hope they didnt either!) We said our goodbyes and successfully avoided a sob scene which was good lol. I really hate crying in front of people so I'm glad it didn't come to that. Sometimes you see people come from dropping someone at the airport and they are just streaming with tears... :( Don't get me wrong, I was really sad to be leaving them, the country, all of it, I'm just more of a private one when it comes to that sort of thing. Tracey hates crying in front of others too so we both are like don't cry...not gonna cry...nope swallow it back...no crying.... LOL.

So I lugged my crap into customs (at least I got rid of one suitcase at the check desk...that thing was so small yet SO heavy!) and I don't even remember what I did first. Probably the passport/visa check and then security? Pretty sure because I had to re-arrange after security and was already spotting the duty free stuff while closing my bags :D Unlike in America you do not have to take the shoes off for airplane security. I thought I might have to because I was going to America but nope, didn't have to.

I wasted a bunch of time looking in the shops and sprayed myself with a perfume but forget what one it was... maybe one from DKNY? not sure. I also spotted out an internet kiosk (with the help of my kiwi adoptee Logan) and wrote some amusing things on Facebook to pass some time. I finally gave up the spot though as peeps were starting to hover around the kiosk and it was a little weird....

Then I went and sat over by my gate. They had it all blocked off and the guy was like, once you come sit in here you cannot go back out. They were checking everyone's passports and boarding passes again just to sit by the gate. I ended up chatting with a woman who was from the Sydney area, who is flying to America to fullfill her dream to ride a motorcycle around the US. She was going for heaps of time too. She had her helmet with her and a few people stopped for a chat out of curiosity. One of the places on her huge treck around America was going to be Milwaukee and we got into a big discussion about the Harley Museum there. She also was planning to go through Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (and spend a day at Graceland...when I told her I'd been she had questions too), Illinois, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, etc. I think she's going to have a hell of a trip :)

Finally they boarded the plane. I was near the front so it seemed like it took forever to get settled but finally I did. I ended up in a window seat right up from of the economy section, with a nice older couple next to me. The food and booze were great, so was the entertainment.... they had TII!!!! Haha I watched it more than once :P There was an interesting bit of time about halfway through my flight where we passed through a storm. The had us put our belts on (mine is always on because i'm like... what if we dip or something... I don't wanna come out of my seat while sleeping...), they also had us close the window shades, though I peeked a few times and whooo there was sure some lightning going on out there. I didn't look for long because some tend to freak out at being in storms like that..... we had a good bit of turbulence (which I find fun...sick I know it) and we had one monster drop that was like wheeeeeeeeee! All in all, V Australia was a fantastic airline to fly on and I'd do it again. They were heaps cheaper than everyone else but didn't sacrifice their service.

It was a very long layover in LAX for me.... I wasted some time by walking from the Int'l terminal to 6 where my next flight was. After checking in, which they let you do WAY ahead of time though their online check-in machines right at the counter, I was able to give up that suitcase again right away. Which was welcome after lugging it so far. I was however, not pleased to have to pay for my first checked bag. Grrrrrrr.

This plane was a little smaller, three seats each side of the isle (unlike the first one which I believe was 3/4/3). Myself and the two others in my little row, got great amusement out of watching the ground crew slam our bags around so nicely....a couple of them they threw so hard onto the belt that you could hear it INSIDE the plane.... yikes! The flight was nice and smooth with a very nice view of sunrise while coming into Cleveland.

It had a short layover before my last flight and found my connection very easily. Because it was a really small plane I had to go to a different terminal even though it was a connecting flight. That was fine, it burned some time and I didn't have to deal with security which was good. The last flight was the most fun as the plane was 1 seat, isle, two seats. I got the one seat, right in the back, which was fine by me. Only bad thing is it was a tad noisy but aren't most flights anyhow? The takeoff was so fun because I swear we banked right after the wheels left the ground.....heh. The whole way (like 1.5 hours) was a nice flight. The one flight attendant was very nice. We chatted just a bit and she thought it was so neat that I was coming back from Australia. Like a lot of people, she'd love to go, but is leery of so much travel time it takes to get there. I told her that is what sleep aids are for LOL.

The landing on the last flight was very interesting. As we got through the last of the decent we hit turbulence and as we were landing the plane was dipping side to side and I was like......... yeah....I hope our pilot got a good grade in 'landings' haha. It was a bit of a rougher touchdown but he managed it really well figuring there was some pretty busy air currents coming in.

After we got to the gate I waited a minute for my carry on bag. The plane was so small it didn't fit in the overhead so they just gate checked it. I was a little nervous because my camera was in that bag but it was fine. Once I had my bag I headed out and around the corner and the first person I practically saw, was Jess! Yay!

She took a stellar pic of me as I walked through, fair enough since we did it to her in Sydney lol. Nothing beats a pic of yourself after 27 straight hours of travel..... yikes! ;)

Both Jess and Zak have been great. And very understanding of my crazy jet lag..... it's so much worse this time around. Going back like 18 hours SUCKS. The first few days I was up until like 5am... last night I went to bed around 1am and was up before 5am.... it's progress though because if I can stay up all day today with no naps I might sleep really well tonight. One can hope anyhow.... I've had a lot of fun seeing bits of Maryville and going with Jess to the campus art studio to see her printmaking project and going to the bar with them... I'm not a fan of bars, but once in a while is alright... I'm more of a drink at home and like, drunk clean and cook kind of person though lol. If they get me to that bar like five times before fall then they are really good at convincing..... LOL! Hell the darts was fun though. So were the card/drinking games.... every time I see Zak now I'm pulling a Little Britain Anne gesture :P

Today we are doing a charity walk in the morning and possibly grilling out with Jess's folks this arvo. That would be really nice. I just hope it warms up a tad!! If we don't grill out then we might go to the art studio. I love it because while Jess works on her stuff I work on my EMT pre-studying that I started in Australia. So we both get things done. On Monday, we'll head to the employment place and try to quickly land me some work before I run out of funds. I wanted to have done that already but I'm trying to be patient enough to get the jet lag sorted first.

So far it's been a lot of fun.... you should have seen me running around at Walmart half sloshed, taking super tight turns with the shopping trolley just because I can.... no sideways turning with our trolleys!!! (okay only those in Aus will probably get the whole trolley thing....those trolleys over there are total rubbish!!) :P


This post is for Tracey ;)

I told Tracey I'd take some pics for her of things in America, that they'd heard about during my year in Australia.

In Australia they have bacon rashers, here we use the less healthy part. You can hardly find the long bacon like this in Aus and I believe it's like 10 something a kilo over there.

Canadian Bacon. Couldn't find it anywhere over in Aus.

Monterrey cheeses.... can't find any of these in Australia... trust me... I tried!!!

Whiskey.... you don't even want to know what that would cost in Australia :P

A few of our chip flavors.... lol. I already miss the Black Crushed Pepper and the Rosemary ones in Australia though.... jeez they were good!

Pickles. Aussies don't really do pickles at all. Most times you won't even get them on a burger at McD's or anything.

The All American staple....... Ketchup!!!! Gotta have it..... :)

April 15, 2010

Not Happy Jan!

Before I left Australia I went in to Vodafone to find out if I could get roaming on my phone once I was in America. I was told absolutely I could and they set it up on my account and I was all set to go. Because of this I also purchased another recharge for my phone to cover me over the next month.


Take a guess how this story ends....

I finally got in touch with Vodafone by email, because... you know... I don't have a working phone now... and it turns out that my headset is not compatable with the American system and that I'd have to buy another phone just to be able to use my minutes. *sigh*


Had I known this I wouldn't have blown money on a recharge I now cannot use. And I now have no phone here. Grrrrrr.


I hate my phone right now.

Soooooooo as soon as I got to LAX I turned on my phone, because I'd set up international roaming for I left and............. nope, my phone has no connection at all...... :( So much for twittering as I went...

I'm working on getting it sorted, via email, so it might be a while, but hopefully it gets fixed. I want to use the month of prepaid I put on it!

Flights and all went fine, I'll write a proper post about all that after some coffee and tylenol. :)


April 12, 2010

Ready To Go...

Getting the last of my things together (thanks to Tracey's mad packing skills) and taking a last look at my flights and in a few hours it will be off to the airport.

I will attempt to twitter from each airport or if it's cheap/free I'll get to an online kiosk (since I'll be SO bored...). Just hoping for a window seat on the long flight as I didn't get to pick.



PS: Watch the twitter updates on the right side of the screen, i'll twitter as i can....

April 9, 2010

Big Burgers and the Onion Bloom...

Last night we went to Outback Steakhouse in Lemeauh for supper. I'd been banging on about the big steakhouses for sometime now, how yummy they are in America.... and I convinced them they had to try it.

We got there right at 5pm, because in America after about 7pm it gets super busy in those places and you can't even get a table without waiting. Wanted to miss all that :P So we arrived a few minutes early but were able to walk right in once we went up to the door.

We got a booth towards the back. Tracey said something about the lighting being dark but those places always are. Once you are there for a bit you are used to it :) Makes it more intimate IMO.
We ordered sodas, which were in the tall plastic glasses with straws and ice and you got free refills (as you should! they are just fountain sodas...). We ordered our food pretty much straight away as we'd scoped out the menu online.

Bruce and Tracey both got a Big Bugger, it had the burger, bacon, egg, beetroot, cheese, tomato, lettuce and onions. I got a No Rules Burger... so I could have it how I wanted it. It had the burger, fried onions, saute mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and American mustard. All our burgers came with fries/chips. While we waited for the burgers we got our Bloomin' Onion. It was funny watching them try it out. It was pretty damned hot so I took a steak knife to it to chop it up some and help it cool faster (ask Tracey about the size of the steak knife :P )

Bruce ended up eating his entire burger... I have no idea where he put it.... I'm convinced part of it went into his back pocket lol. Tracey and I got through roughly half of our burgers. It was just so much food....

I did notice a few differences at this Outback vs. ones in America.... When you ask to take the rest of your food home, they take your plates in back and package it up for you (vs. them bringing containers out and having you do it), also there were no sauces on the tables at all, only salt and pepper shakers (vs. having a large array of bottles on the side like ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce and steak sauce) and I had to ask for ketchup for the fries/chips and they brought out a little dip saucer of it :P

The food and all was just fab!

All I can say is....



PS: 3 days and counting.... ;)

April 7, 2010

5 Days To Go...

I can't believe it's so soon already! Loads to do today. I'm going through all my stuff and tossing some, keeping some and giving away some. I only have on suitcase and a carry-on bag so it's going to be a terribly daunting task.... but I can do it ;)


Talked to my dad & text with my brother.

I realized after texting with my brother that it's frustrating being very far away right now? I'd like to be there, so help in any way, to comfort, etc. I really really feel for my Aunt... we get along very well (lori, my brother and stepsis candy are the three family members i trust the most with things really) and she's very proud of both of her boys and I just can't imagine how she must be right now. I hope my dad and my brother give all of them tons of hugs when they go to the wake or service.

April 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Tracey and another family loss...

Talk about up and down at the same time....

Today is Tracey's birthday so we are going out for the day. We are going to have something to eat, then see a movie, then go in search of a couple of proper sausage rolls, which are highly popular here. I believe we are going to the mall as well :)

When we go to the mall I have to get a card, as one of my cousins on Karen's side was in the same sort of crash that she was in and he died because of it. He was younger than me and had a family. :( Very sad stuff. If I send a card today it might get there in a week or a little later.



The Countdown Is On....

I leave in one week. I have SO much to do. At this point I'm just trying to cut down how many pictures I have taken so they will fit on like three or four DVDR's.... it's not an easy task! An entire year in Australia has produced so many great photographs.... it's hard to get rid of any of them :(


April 3, 2010

Happy Easter :-)

--- Happy Easter ♥ ---

We are having a nice and relaxing Easter Sunday here. There's virtually nothing open today. I read up on the whole shopping law thing here for Easter Sunday and it varies by state. In NSW it's a little complicated. If it's a high tourist area like Sydney it's a bit different to areas outside of Sydney and many times comes down to the local councils as to who they will or will not exempt from the rules. Almost all the businesses in this area are closed today, including malls, shops, groceries, etc.
I'm used to being in Milwaukee or in Illinois where we have a habit of running around Walmart on Easter and causing chaos :P No such luck here though! :(

So we are relaxing, having coffee, eating hot cross buns and our chocolate Bilbys (so Australian!!)...
I got the white chocolate one.... YUM! :D

April 2, 2010

Taronga Zoo

We had a lovely day at the zoo on Good Friday. There was a lot of people there but I love that because it's all families and children having a fun time. Brings back a lot of memories of going places as a family when I was growing up.

The best bits to me were seeing "Mr. Shuffles" the baby elephant, seeing a koala bear, walking through the 'roo' enclosure and going through the bird enclosures... the sounds of all the different Australian birds zooming around was great.

Also, the zoo had GREAT views of the city as well! Thanks Tracey and Bruce for a wonderful day!


(PS: We also drove over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the way back which was really cool!)

April 1, 2010

Off To Taronga Zoo

Hope everyone has a nice Good Friday....

We are spending it..... at the Taronga Zoo :-)