Esmerelda's Excellent Adventure
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.

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

Thursday, July 24, 2003
Thursday - Mungo played with his wood [I can see you all sitting in front of your computers, scratching your heads and asking yourselves, “Does she deliberately go out of her way to make things sound pornographic?” The answer to this would be “Yes.”]
The morning started off with the arrival of the garbage elf [the man has wrinkled knees for god’s sake!] and much toting off of rubbish into his elf-mobile. For those of you in the states, lots of houses here are raised up on poles [the proper aussie term is ‘stumps’] in order to take advantage of the breezes in summer (if you live in Galveston, please ignore the explanation and insert “the houses here are just like at home”). Effectively you have a basement without the walls. However the tendency to stuff broken and unwanted household items (I’m sure this 3 legged table will restore a treat when I get round to it) in this space is also overwhelming, so one ends up having to call garbage elves up to haul all the detritus away. Luckily the clearing up was accomplished before the rain started.
Not one to rush into things, Mungo finally began work on the order placed two years ago by his sister Bramblerose for a bookcase (for bookcase read “11 x 9 foot piece of cherry that will weigh approximately 3 metric tonnes and has lots of endearing but mind numbingly complicated inlays”). I left Mungo sawing/hammering/sanding away happily and did a few chores upstairs. Later in the day, Bramblerose came over for tea and a good gossip. Occasionally we popped downstairs to check on Mungo’s progress and to bring him fortifying cups of tea.
Not only have I found a new friend in Bramblerose, I have a new sister. It will make me sad to leave her behind in Brisbane when we move to Sydney.
After Bramblerose left, I then got to visit with one of my mates in Oz, so the afternoon was spent consuming endless cups of tea and another good gossip. By now the rain had been driven off by the “westerlies” [bitter cold wind out of the west]. I (not so) silently bemoaned the fact that Mungo doesn’t have central heating (but that’s ok – balance will be restored to the world as we know it come summer when I can whine equally silently about the lack of air conditioning).
Mungo took advantage of the cold weather by preparing soup from the less than garden fresh veggies in the fridge. While the soup simmered on the stove we tramped up the road to the chemist, returning home to the glorious smell of soup. Accompanied by the remainders of the robust rye we had earlier in the week, it was a v,v yummy supper.
Insipid television shows in addition to frigid temperatures drove us to bed early. I leave the remainder of the evening to your imagination [go on, I know you all have one…. use it].

I am spoiled – I admit it freely and without reservation. Dammit I miss central heating. I do not like having to chip the icicles off the keyboard in order to blog and how anyone manages to cyber here in winter is beyond me.
I will never be a carpenter – the math is too hard.
While it may not be how the manufacturers envisaged it being used, pawpaw and mango chutney on it’s own on toast is v, v, v yummy.
What drug was the first hippy to invent tinkly frou-frou windchimes on when he/she/it thought they would be a “neat idea” – Jesus Helen and his brother Bob those things piss me off. Please shoot me if I ever get the urge to make interesting ornaments out of recycled tin cans.
I miss Podo.

Mungo’s Observations:
It’s about 8 degrees (about 40 for those of our less advanced cousins who speak in old speak) – that makes it pleasantly brisk – quit yer whining and go stand in the sun.
MathS is our friend…
You’re weird – chutney is NOT meant to be eaten solo – add some cheese (but why should I be surprised when you’ve lived for 10 years in a place that considers deep fried pickles a delicacy???)
I miss Podo too – we’ll pick him up tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Tuesday was “let’s be kids” day for the Hamwich clan. After Mungo finished up his last appointment at the “House of Pain”, and we did some other equally boring adult chores off we went to New Farm Park. We spent the afternoon having an adventure; climbing up ropes and through trees and acting silly. Our search for food led us to the park snack bar – no overpriced insipid sandwiches here. Our roast beef sandwiches were great slabs of beef piled high on white bread with lashings of mustard, lovely slices of red onion and just damn yummy. Top it off with a latte and ice cream bar and you have the perfect luncheon for the park.
Later it was back to the homestead and then off to the grocery store (again!). Podo was given the shopping list and exercised due diligence in making sure we kept to it and weren’t distracted by disgusting (according to him) fruits and veggies. The original plan of sausages and mash for tea was changed to grilling the sausages over an open fire in the park behind our house, then watching Podo’s delight in building a bonfire with the remains of the coals.
Covered in soot and belching happily, we slowly made our way home.
Wednesday brought us a visit from the Grubb grandparents, who whisked Podo away for a visit. After dragging out the assorted debris from under the house for the rubbish removal man, Mungo spent the afternoon on his building project while I slaved away in the house (ok, I really dozed on the couch).
After a quick clean up, Mungo and I buggered off to a local Indian restaurant,(yummy butter chicken!) then drove up to Mt. Coot-tha. I would describe the remainder of our evening, but I'm selfish.

Go snogging with someone you love.

Monday, July 21, 2003
Monday July 21, 2003

A fairly low-key day today. Mungo had to venture off to the house of pain (aka the dentist) where he endured almost unspeakable suffering. In keeping with the day’s theme of pain, he then sorted out his workbench.
I spent the day lounging about being fed chocolates by strapping young lads (not really, but it sounds much more interesting than talking about dirty laundry). We also arranged for a rubbish pickup (nothing but one endless round of excitement here at the Hamwich homestead), and so I was treated to my first glimpse of an aussie in a singlet. Honestly, men of a certain age should be arrested if seen in public in one of those things. Speaking of native Australians, I did get to see some kookaburras feasting on a mouse in the mango tree out back.
Later that day it was off to the park, then home for tea (Indian food for the adults, pasta for young Podo). Podo kept Mungo and I entertained at the dinner table with a reading from the Harry Potter book of monsters. Later Mungo and I watched a video, while the possum were having their nightly practice for the Possum Speed Trials on the roof, racing back and forth (how much DO they weigh?) At least they weren’t casting for the Possum Porn Festival again. Jesus helen, those things are noisy.
Tuesday is going to be “house of pain” redux, with the last of Mungo’s appointments scheduled. Then it’s off to the Dept. of Redundant and Endless Paperwork, a few miscellaneous chores, and to the park for a picnic.

It’s amazing how little of the things you think are essential to making your life work (i.e.: blow-dryer, makeup, lots and lots of cupboards, 4 sets of bed linen) actually are not.
People really do use i.e.: in conversations. (My right hand to God, I heard them say it!)

Go watch a movie with someone you love.

Saturday & Sunday – Our original plans for the weekend changed at the last minute, and Mungo and I were suddenly free and able to escape for a DW (all that bat porn from the previous day only enhanced our mood). After dropping Pogo off at his Uncle Milo and Aunt Tigerlily’s house (where he was able to revert to being feral with Myrtle and Daisy), Mungo and I escaped up the coast to Noosa. For our friends in Oz, anyone wanting a nice hotel at a low price go to Mungo found a great place at an inexpensive price.
We were able to spend the night …Ok, what we really did was find some incredibly good champagne and a great bottle of red wine, drank them both and both of us fell asleep.
Speaking of champagne, Yellowglen Vintage @ AU$25 is a steal. We were also able to restock our cellar with 12 bottles of assorted reds and whites, along with a magnum of merlot for AU$90 (that works out to about US$4.40 a bottle…yummmy!)
The next morning we had a leisurely drive back to Milo’s place after a side trip to the ginger factory (how many ways can you use ginger? Don’t ask.) and a detour to Mungo’s childhood home. (“When we first came to Australia we had to live in a shack, I’ll take you to see it….oops, it’s a carport now. Well, let’s go by the house my dad built for us…ut oh, it’s a bed & breakfast. Ok, lets go visit my old school. See that nursing home? That’s where I used to grow my stash.”) The tour was quite poignant.
And for those of you who are curious, the requisite quota was met, despite the overindulgence in wine (sunrise by the beach can be so umm, invigorating).
It does give one pause when you see kangaroo crossing signs on the highway.
You can make a gourmet meal from ingredients you pick up in a corner 7/11. (What 7/11 in the states sells Camembert and smoked cheddar?)
Noosa has a breathtaking beach. You can develop the foreshore but you can’t destroy paradise.
I am still taken aback when I see antheriums and birds of paradise growing in people’s gardens.
God must have been having a “colour by numbers” day when he made the rainbow lorikeet.
Wombats are HUGE.
For an endangered species, scrub turkeys seem to be managing quite well - maybe they aren’t quite as delicious as the dodo.

Go share a bottle of champagne with your lover.

I know it’s been a few days since the last post but the Hamwich clan has been v, v busy.
Friday was such a beautiful day – faced with a choice of doing chores or going and doing something fun, we chose the latter. Off we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I wanted to see some wildlife without having to listen to “crikey, look @ that!” blaring at me through loudspeakers.
Podo, Mungo and I wandered through the kangaroo enclosure, carefully dodging roo poo. A wallaby with her joey fascinated us. I was able to snap some good shots of her, one of these days when BloggerPro gets it’s act together I may actually get to post the pictures. We then spent a half hour or so listening to a talk on snakes and Podo got to pet an olive python. There were a few tense moments as the python lay on the grass, and a scrub turkey landed in front of him. The python (named Fluffy, because he likes to eat fluffy things) had been a few months without a meal, and thought the turkey looked pretty appetizing.
Moving on we visited various other enclosures, and then it was off to “bat talk”. Little did we know we were about to be treated to an episode of bat porn. While the young woman was giving her little talk about the habits of fruit bats (aka flying foxes), it became apparent to all watching that the testosterone was flowing in the bat enclosure. The poor park guide was a bit aghast as we watched two bats um; love each other in that special kind of way mommies and daddies love each other. The entire episode shed a new light on the phrase “hung like a bat”. (All I could think of was that line from an old Cheech and Chong album..”Jesus Christ Margaret, look at the size of that thing!”)
After that enlightening sojourn into batty loving, it was time for some gratuitous violence, so off to the movie theatre we went. Terminator 3 (quite obviously the prequel to Terminator 4) is full of car crashes and tearing off of limbs. Podo enjoyed himself immensely. My personal take on the movie is to advise all who haven’t seen it to wait for the video.
Then if was off to the homestead, where we finished off the evening with a visit to the local pizza palace and video rental store.
I’ll post Sat & Sunday’s adventures later…Podo has been a little computer piggy today.

Go watch bats shagging.

Thursday, July 17, 2003
Thursday – what another glorious day! To be able to sit on your veranda with a hot cup of coffee and watch the sun rise –such luxury. Later in the morning I stayed home while Mungo brought the car round to the “please get a second mortgage on your house” car repair shop, he came back with fairly good news. The car is not terminal, but will need some fairly expensive work done on the transmission. Then he was off to the park with young Podo, who should be named Pongo at times (what is it about young boys and their reluctance to shower? Maybe we should have named him Grubbo?). While they were gone I was able to catch up with the laundry.
Later, Mungo ventured off to the “Office of Pompous Bureaucrats” to pick up a form, and then to the “Department of Inane Traffic Regulations” for an instruction manual for me. After my little escapade the other evening, we thought it best if I actually read the rules of the road here in Oz.
Browsing through the manual, I found the list of traffic offenses and the demerit points awarded if you should be unlucky enough to be caught committing said offense. The one that puzzles me the most is the “one demerit point awarded for Dazzling Road Users”. How am I to dazzle them? With my witty repartee’? Is it acceptable to tell very bad jokes, but you are fined for telling good ones to other drivers? Another conundrum…. maybe I should ring the number in the back of the book, 1-300-confuse me more.
Ooooh, then it was off to the shops where we indulged Mungo in an orgiastic frenzy of power tool buying. (Ok, I picked out one or two myself, I have to admit it).
A tear or two was shed when Mungo had to settle for buying the weekend warriors version of the tools. I led him away from the professional versions, while he whined and sniveled a bit about the fact that he had once owned that very tool, mumbling under his breath about the stinking rat bastards that had stolen them.
Back home, we indulged in a riveting game of Topple, where we ignored all the rules of the game and just stacked things up till they …well, until they toppled.
When Mungo’s former apprentice Minto Knotwise finally arrived, we toddled off to the restaurant next door. Mungo’s nephew Hob had served his apprenticeship there and some of his signature dishes are still on the menu. Oz is truly a foodie’s paradise. Some lovely pesto bread to start, followed by Moroccan Meatballs that melted in my mouth, followed by my main course of pan seared chicken breasts in a camembert and Dijon mustard sauce topped with avocado slices and accompanied by some little puffs of heaven that they said were potatoes. The sharp reminder of the top button of my jeans prevented me from indulging in dessert. Grabbing the bottle of unfinished red champagne we strolled back home, patting our tummies and belching contentedly.
Later, while we sat on the veranda finishing off the wine, we heard the gate rattle. I had forgotten my “doggie bag” and the apprentice from next door brought it over to me. Talk about service!
Service- when your customer treats you as a peer, and you can survive on the minimum wage, then service is a natural part of your job performed with ease and not lip service in order to get a decent tip. I am sure there are surly clerks and waitresses here, but I have yet to run across one.
Donuts-Krispy Kreme can’t touch the melt in your mouth flavor of a donut from a Donut King stand. There is something about standing at the counter watching your donuts cooked fresh, and having to juggle the bag in your hand because the donuts are too hot, that first bite, barely escaping burning your tongue…I have to go back there right NOW!
Go eat a hot donut.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Another low-key day. Mungo spent a good part of the morning on the phone with the “Bureau of Endless and Redundant Paperwork” and the “Please Take Out a Second Mortgage on Your House” car repair shop. He and young Podo then researched the Clan Hamwich family tree, which will be published at a later date (if Blogger ever gets off their arses and releases BloggerPro). After a rousing computer game or two we indulged in a ploughman’s luncheon of hearty cheddar, pickled onions and a very robust rye bread we bludged around some more.
High tea with Bramblerose and a walk to the park, followed by a visit to the video store and a late dinner of roast lamb and early to bed.
It doesn’t get much better than this.

Go to bed early with the person you love.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003
It's amazing how fast time flies by when you are with the person you love.
Monday was spent lounging about the house most of the morning, until we were both hit with a burst of energy in the middle of the afternoon. Poor Mungo. I helped him sort out his computer room. I actually thought he was going to cry when I said "no dear, you don't need that matrix dot printer that hasn't worked in 5 yrs, put it in the bin". The ends justified the means however (I was very strict) and we now have a computer room that you can move around in. Follow that up with a trip to the grocery store (if we only needed milk, why did we spend $130? - because the food here is lovely and I HAD to have that packet of violet crumbles, ooh look, there's the cheese we had at your mum's.....doesn't that bacon look lovely....ohh, yes please get that small jar of caviar.), a nice relaxed dinner and early to bed.

Tuesday Mungo went to the dentist, and Podo had a marathon reading session. Podo finished the latest Harry Potter book ( it only took him 5 days and now I get to read it! Yay!). Mungo was not traumatised too severely by the dentist; he arrived back home with his jaws clenched tightly and speaking vedy, vedy british, but he recovered rapidly. Off to the park we went, dragging young Podo behind, for a good hour or two of bike riding, and general goofing off in the fresh air.
Dinner was at Bramblerose's house to celebrate Togo's birthday. Lotho outdid himself at the bbq and we all dined quite nicely on some succulent grilled lambchops. Those poor little lambs did not die in vain....yummmmy. I also finally saw the Southern Cross in the night sky.
The ride home from a bit more exciting than usual however as I drove home. Mungo had a bit of wine, and was feeling a tad tipsy. He soon sobered up as I played "lets see how many posts I can knock over" and generally scared the crap out of him (do you know HOW close you came to that post?). Podo assisted quite capably from the back seat (you're going 2 kilometers over the speed limit!...bugger...that was a bit close to that car don't you think?)and we arrived safely at the Hammwich residence. After Mungo pried my fingers from their death grip on the steering wheel, we had an after dinner appertif, and off to bed we went. I think I have finally stopped trembling.
Today will be spent bringing the Hammwich family car off to the transmission shop for a diagnosis...hopefully the car is not terminal.
Ooooh, I forgot to say, the good Dowager Ruby wants me to have lunch with her (just me, no one else) eeeek....why do I feel like I have been summoned to an interview?
Items of note:
I never realized magpies got that could feed a family of four on one of those birds.
Fruit bats are extremely huge.
Television commercials are universally annoying, no matter what country you're in.
Fuck is an acceptable adjective on radio stations in Oz.
The only person I have heard say "crikey!" is Steve Irwin.

Go look at the night sky.

Sunday, July 13, 2003
Saturday in Oz at the local shopping mall – just like any mall in any part of the US as far as being crowded, but that’s where the similarities end. They don’t usually have food courts in US malls with Indian food. I am constantly amazed at the quality of fast food places here. Burgers/fried chicken/pizza are available, but the are not the norm. I love being able to go to the mall, and then stop off at the food court and gorge on papadams…yummmy.
Oh yes, and lesson #2 – never ever feed young Podo TWO bowls of cocoa puffs for breakfast. After we pulled him down from the ceiling, glued him to his new bicycle and let him ride around the park for an hour or so, he was fine (where the fuck did I put my valium?).
After the bicycle riding in the park, it was off to Milo’s and Tigerlily’s for dinner. I also passed yet another round of “meet the family”. Three siblings down, two more to go.
Once again, another evening filled with good music, excellent food, exquisite wine and laughter to the point of tears. A good time was definitely had by all.
Sunday started out slow, with a leisurely breakfast and visit with Mungo’s sister Bramblerose. Then it was a short (4k) hike to the cricket field for a game of Aussie rules football. The crowd, the excitement, the extremely nice arses of the players…I could become a rules fanatic quite easily. Then we walked back to the house, and spent the evening talking and laughing and trying to ignore the extremely loud sound of possums fucking on the roof (do they really HAVE to scream like that?).

More later…go ride your bike.

Friday, July 11, 2003
Day 4 of the Adventure

Friday was "meet the Dowager Ruby, Matriarch of Clan Hamwich" day. (was I nervous? not after I threw up.) However, the attack of nerves was wasted. We had a nice visit (to quote Ruby"she's lovely"), Ruby got a good bottle of cognac and some yummy snacks out of the deal; and I came away with a hand painted picture, a jar of pickled onions, and advice on where to purchase good prune juice. ( All that cheese you know dear, it's binding). I was also able to finally see some of Harv's handiwork; he had done some remodeling at his mom's and built a few pieces of furniture. Not only can the man cook, he's handy too. The pieces he's made are stunning.
After our visit, which of course was mind-numbingly boring for young Podo we ventured off to the local bottle shop and convenience market to pick up a few things for dinner, and then it was off to the park in the rain. What fun we had! When's the last time you played in the rain?
Things I've noticed:
Signs advertising "horse poo - 50 cents a bag" - don't ask me why, but this just cracks me up.
Every "strip mall" has a bottle shop (liquor shop for you yanks), bakery, convenience store, and fresh fruit and veggie shops, (and a noodle shop/chinese take-a-way/indian restaurant)
Food is free (well, not really, but it's damn cheap).
This country has not been "super sized" yet. You can find everything you need, but there just doesn't seem to be the excess of consumerism that you find in the states. ( I am not verbalizing this very well, I will have to think about it more)
Once again, an excellent day. Tonight we are off to Milo & Tigerlily's house for dinner and I get to meet another have to love these large families! ( Guess I better go put my teeth in, aye?)
What we're listening to now (after our cd buying frenzy in Sydney) - Pieter Wispelwey and Paolo Giacometti playing Franz Schubert (heaven!)
Tomorrow - Aussie Rules Football!

Go play in the rain.

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Well, Thursday turned out to be another excellent day. Young Podo went off to the park with his cousins Myrtle and Daisy, along with Aunt Tigerlily and Uncle Milo. The kids got to run wild and be free (although Podo is paying for it today) and Mungo and I went around town and did errands.
We went to the bank (oooh, I have two new credit cards now…shoes, I hear shoes calling my name) and to the grocery store and to the mall and to the computer shop.
After a tough day of shopping and general putzing around, Tigerlily and Milo came over for dinner and we had a great time. Good food, good wine, good music and excellent company.
Milo informed me as they were leaving that I had passed another test, now I only have to meet the Dowager (Ruby – matriarch of the Clan Hamwich).
Oh boy, I’m in trouble.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003
This is going to be a fast post, because I am suffering from chat room withdrawal syndrome.
Arrived safe after a extremely long trip.
First impressions: There are not very many black people here.
They call toilets, toilets (no polite euphemisms aka restrooms.)
Mungo does double duty as my spell checker.
Young Podo is as funny as his dad.
The shagging is excellent.

more later, you can go now.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

It's today! I leave in 4 hrs! I'm not packed!
Jesus helen I'm excited.
Saturday, July 05, 2003
Yard Sale Hell...people are crazy you know that? They will buy the weirdest stuff....things that you would think would go like hotcakes sit there..and stuff you think is crap gets sold out in minutes.
Am on the hour countdown now..14 hrs till I leave for the airport and head out to oz...good thing I had the bright notion to have a yard sale and exhaust myself so I can sleep tonight.

(it's ok, you can go now)

Friday, July 04, 2003
So...3PM and I still have not accomplished any of the following:
1. Get stuff for yard sale sorted.
2. Find dolly to haul said yard sale stuff outside.
3. Eat lunch.
4. Clean my bathroom
5. Clean the entire damn house for that matter.

I did, however buy a new coffee pot (fuck going without caffeine, I'd be crankier than I already am). So it is safe for small children to be around me once again. (She Who Will Not Be Ignored is another story however).
I am off to enjoy my coffee.

(it's ok, you can go now)

The coundown begins...2 more sleeps until I venture off to Oz and join Mungo and young Podo on what I hope will be a most excellent adventure.

Until then, we get to deal with She Who Will Not Be Ignored (also known as my mother), preparing for a garage sale (was I smoking crack when I put that ad in the paper?), 2 days with limited caffeine intake (in preperation for the 30 odd hours travel time), and learning to like nicotine gum.

More later.

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