Esmerelda's Excellent Adventure
Saturday, August 09, 2003
 
Oi! What are you doing coming back here? Didn't I tell you to Go here for the new and improved version??

...sigh...when will you ever learn?
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
Although patience is a virtue, I have never been known to be particularly patient nor virtuous. Esmerelda’s Adventures in Oz has a new look and a new host. Please redirect your browsers to this address:
http://natandharv.typepad.com/esmerelda/

ps:
you will have to copy and paste the address into your browser as I can not add links with blogger. cheers, mate!

Saturday, August 02, 2003
 
Friday – Geez, what the heck did we do Friday? A phone call to the house of pain to make an appointment for me (don’t ask, it isn’t pretty – but don’t you dare call me gummy), the afternoon spent cooking a yummy dinner, and much running up and down stairs tending to the laundry. Squeeze in numerous games of jenga, toss in some Ricky Lee Jones (just because we haven’t listened to her in a long time) on the cd player, and a little snogging on the side, and round off the evening by watching a video and scarfing down heaps of popcorn ….
Saturday was a big day for the adults – young Podo was dispatched to Uncle Milo and Aunt Tigerlily’s for an overnighter. Milo, Tigerlily, Mungo and I engaged in a lively philosophical discussion over mugs of tea and hot bread fresh from the oven. Then Mungo and I ventured off to a hardware store, where Mungo engaged in a futile search for some bright shiny bits needed to complete Bramblerose’s bookcase (aka the monolith). Back to the homestead, a quick visit with Bramblerose and then Mungo and I ventured off for a night on the town. I must say, Mungo scrubs up quite nicely! Off to the concert hall we went, where we spent the evening laughing ourselves silly at the comedy of Eddie Izzard. Then we wandered through town, through the old Expo sites (a stroll past a pagoda and through a rain forest is v, v romantic) ending up at a Chinese restaurant indulging ourselves in tasty wine and “bugs”. (For the uninitiated, “bugs” are a crab-like creature found in this part of the world that are a bit like lobster, but not as rich.) Imagine our surprise when we looked around and realized that the crowds surrounding us at the café had disappeared, and we were sitting at a table on a deserted footpath (sidewalk for you yanks). The café owner put no pressure on us to hurry and leave, so we finished our wine, grabbed a taxi and ended the evening, ummmm, in private.
Observations:
Some fashion statements would be better off left unsaid.
Add bugs to my list of favorite foods. http://www.sea-ex.com/fishphotos/bug,1.htm
The concert hall in Brisbane is extremely civilized, with frosty adult beverages available pre show and during intermission.
Why in the world would one wear an almost but not quite knee length khaki skirt, knee high boots and patterned black tights?
I should have asked that girl who her hairdresser was so I don’t ever make the mistake of going to that particular salon.
Note to Americans planning on overseas travel – you are going to run across people that are genuinely interested in Americans politics. You had best read up.
I am truly disappointed that I am going to miss “An Audience With The King” tribute to Elvis @ QPAC in September.

Thursday, July 31, 2003
 
Bloody hell...I just noticed I used "managed" two sentences in a row. Don't you hate when that happens? Time to drag out the thesaurus.
 
Thursday – A day of pure fun. Mungo, Podo and I went off on an adventure to one of the local amusement parks here – DreamWorld. Podo spent the day over-indulging himself on scary rides. You know a child is having a good time when you ask him if he’s hungry and he says, “No, can I go on that ride next?” Most of the rides were a bit too nausea inducing for me, (watching Podo and Mungo spinning around in the Vortex from the viewing platform about did me in) but we all went on the roller coaster. Whooooweeeeeeee!! Now THAT was fun! We watched a Nickelodeon show (unfortunately, Podo didn’t get picked to be slimed) and then wandered off to wait while Podo went to try his luck on the Tower of Terror. Mungo and I watched the live tigers while we waited and indulged ourselves in a bit of lunch. We found Podo and were walking through the park when along came some of the park animal handlers walking a tiger! You have never seen such joy as the look on Podo’s face as he got to pet the tiger as it strolled past (I, on the other hand, nearly tripped over my own feet trying to get out of the way). He stared at his hand, then at Mungo and said, “I’m never washing this hand again!”
Another ride or two, then a snack for Podo, who had finally decided maybe he was feeling a bit peckish. After Podo spent the remainder of his pocket money on “really cool stuff” we were off to the Hamwich homestead. A trip to the video store and pizza parlor, and we spent the remainder of the evening watching videos and munching happily.
Who knows what Friday will bring – so far the morning has proved to be pretty damn interesting, at least to me.
Observations:
Mungo’s musical taste is as eclectic as mine.
Mungo is also a greedy tart when it comes to sharing anchovies (note to self: next time buy two jars)
Crumbly cheddar cheese with pickled onion is definitely on my list of favorite foods.
It takes about a month before new allergens start to bother you.
Does the wind really go sweeping down the plains in Oklahoma?
How many hairstyles you thought were obsolete can you see in one day? (I saw 3 yesterday).

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
 
Monday was like Mondays everywhere – catching up on routine household chores, making phone calls, booking international flights – you know, all the normal stuff. Mungo continues his work on the bookcase – he spent the day sanding/sawing
I was very brave and booked an appointment with a [gasp!] strange hairdresser! As all women know, it takes enormous fortitude and daring to trust your hair to someone new. I will let you all know how it turns out…
48 hrs later – “Where have you been?” you are asking yourselves, kind reader. A day of gluttony, followed by a day of sloth and lust..one must not ignore the 7 deadly sins, must one?
Tuesday started out with the trip to the hairdressers (I had to walk all of 50 steps). Very high tech décor, all brushed steel and chrome accented in black. All the stylists were dressed in black (black seems to be the winter “uniform” here – this was especially noticeable in Sydney, where scores of professional women scurried about, all dressed in black. For a minute or two I thought it was a national day of mourning).
The stylist I was lucky enough to get was very professional, her scissors/combs/etc all kept neatly in a little black case hanging from her waist ( a hair stylists version of a tool belt). The biggest treat came when she shampooed my hair – she said to me, this chair is a treat and flipped a switch and the entire chair started to vibrate and massage me. I could have used a cigarette afterwards. All in all, I was very pleased with the entire experience, and DAMN! My hair looks good! (throw in a little pride as well as the gluttony).
Then it was off to the mountains (actually they are hills, they used to be mountains, but nature has worn them down a bit, kind of like my formerly perky breasts) for lunch with Bramblerose. We drove through rolling hills, where some of the views took my breath away again. We ended up in a quaint little town (read tourist trap, but it was lovely) that was apparently celebrating old codgers day. Bramblerose and I were the youngest there by at least 20 years. A delicious lunch, followed by a decadent dessert and a good gossip (no one was safe from our rapier sharp tongues) left us feeling fat and sassy. We rolled back to our car and drove off to the beach, then managed to get caught in a traffic jam from hell. We managed to get back to the Hamwich homestead before Mungo sent out the search party.
Wednesday was a doona day – late brekkie followed by Mungo sent back to his bookcase project, while I lazed around the house. The lust part is none of your business. (ha,ha,ha,ha!). Throw in a bit of greed and sloth, and I have the sins fairly well covered.
Observations:
A sign posted near a nursing home – Aged persons cross here (well, they can’t say watch out for all the old bastards, can they?)
The way the sky looks at dusk makes me wish I were a better photographer.
I’m spoiled when it comes to heating/air-conditioning – Mungo thinks I whine too much, but I haven’t even warmed up yet (pun intended).
When do 9-year-old boys grow out of listening to the same CD over and over and over and over and over and over and over (am I getting the point across here??)
How many times can I let myself be humiliated by being beaten at Jenga by said 9-year-old boy?
Eagles are majestic birds
Nothing beats sitting on the veranda watching the sunrise, sipping some steaming hot coffee, and talking to the one you love.

Go get up early and watch the sun rise, preferably with the one you love.

Sunday, July 27, 2003
 
Saturday and Sunday
Up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to drive to Coffs Harbour. What a beautiful drive, the view of the ocean as we came over a hill took my breath away. Mungo and I drove along the Gold Coast, and stopped in Byron Bay for a leisurely breakfast. We sat in a sidewalk café drinking exceptionally strong coffee; reading the paper and watching the waves crash to shore.
We also passed a restaurant named Fishheads so of course we both sang the fishhead song in tribute.
The drive was punctuated by roo bits on the road…not exactly the dead possum/raccoons/squirrels I am used to seeing in Mississippi.
Arrived at the other set of grandparents home at lunchtime. Luncheon on a sunny veranda with the Kalang River in our front yard, followed by a “little” walk to the end of the world. Mungo, Podo and I hiked through town to the point where the river meets the ocean and once again I was made breathless by the beauty of this country.
Dinner was followed by watching the embarrassing display of the Wallabies attempting to play rugby (no smirking allowed by my NZ mates).
Early to bed, and waking to the sunrise with scores of lorikeets and rosellas having brekky in the feeders placed strategically around the yard. After our own brekky it was on the road once again, with a stop off at the Dowager Ruby’s homestead for tea. Dinner at the Hamwich home was the remainder of the yummy soup made on Friday for the adults and the requisite weekly pizza fix for young Podo. A big bowl of popcorn and a silly movie ended the evening on a satisfying note.
Observations:
It’s all in the marketing – apparently if one bags up horse poo and sells it one will only be able to sell it for 50 cents a bag. If it is labeled “horse manure” you can jack the price up to $2. (Sign seen in Qld – horse poo – Still only 50 cents!)
Wood pigeons look like regular pigeons with mohawk haircuts.
Pelicans make a very strange noise.
Do not make long road trips with a 9-year-old boy unless you bring some type of diversion (i.e.: game boy or cd player)
The Big Banana wasn’t nearly as impressive as the giant Prawn.
Muesli is incredibly filling.
While the emergency food packets from Oz to the US only take 5 days to be delivered, the reverse trip will take 20 days via US post.
It is a bit disconcerting to hear a 9-year-old boy sing “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry (and know all the words).
It is awe inspiring as to how many stars you can see when you are gazing at a night sky unpolluted by light. The fact that I hadn’t seen the Milky Way until my 4th decade is a bit sad.
Insipid tv is not limited to the US, nor are annoying tv commercials.

Friday, July 25, 2003
 
Friday
Mungo and I are off on a road trip to pick up Podo Saturday morning so we will be out of pocket for a few days. Mungo just informed me that we will be leaving at the crack of dawn – thankfully he doesn’t expect coherent conversation from me until I have had a cup of coffee.
Started the day with steaming cups of coffee, watching blue faced lorakeets fussing at each other in the tree in the front yard. The rest of the morning was spent thawing out, blogging the events from yesterday, and then walking to the local grocery store. After picking up a few things, I headed back to the homestead to fix Mungo’s lunch.
Take the excellent bacon bones you picked up at the supermarket, cover with cold water, add a peeled and quartered onion and bring to a boil. Let them simmer for a few hours, filling the house with a delicious smokey aroma. In the meantime chop up some potatoes, parsnips, carrots and steam them in the microwave. Take the last bit of fresh broccoli and steam that until just crisp. Pull the bacon bones [they are similar to ham hocks, but not as fatty] out of the water, pull the meat from the bone, add the excellent soup Mungo made last night to the remainder of the broth. Simmer, simmer, simmer, and then add the steamed veggies.
Ladle into a huge soup bowl; serve [rye bread is optional] to the one you love on a sunny veranda.
Observations:
People walk here – I was one of a small army of people headed to and from the market.
Although you see trash bins every few metres people still tend to throw their garbage on the ground.
Dogs and babies are excellent conversation starters – I spent several minutes discussing the merits of pugs with a lucky human owned by a black pug. [If a pug has ever owned you you will know exactly what I mean].
The fewer things you own the easier it is to clean house.
I love the way Mungo’s eyes change from blue to green to gray.
The bookcase is progressing nicely – it’s going to be a lovely unit.
Hot milo with baileys is v,v yummy.

Go sit on the couch with someone you love and hold hands.

PS
It is now Saturday morning and I am up at 4:30 to post this blog - I worry about myself sometimes.




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