Sunday, 30 November 2008

it aches....

and until I recover from a massive sugar and hysterical laughing overload from yesterday's session with Ngaire at Inkredible

watch this little number that I found on her blog while I was looking for something completely unrelated {so annoying}

i want this forever.........

and here's what I did for Bon's CC
Charm's bling/blind challenge

and Bon's colour challenge

and by "ONE" it can be one commitment, one child, one house, one covenant. For my traditional parents, it was one child. {just so you know, I don't think that if you don't have children, you're not a family...okay?}

it's so good to be creating again!

back soon......
brighter and buoyant........

Saturday, 29 November 2008

News from the Villa

While I was in Denver I received an email from my second cousin, Antonino, in Italy. His family run Villa delle Rondini (it's in the sidebar). I havent' met him but my sisters have and Mum has not stopped smiling since I told her about the email.

Go to the sidebar and click on the link (under SHAMELESS FAMILY PROMOTION). They've done a fantastic job at restoring the house, and you get to see some pictures of my ancestors!!!

And if you know someone who's traveling to Italy, send them the link please and mention me so they know.

I'm sending some photos of us and the kids so we can compare theirs to ours and try to get some family resemblances. I'm excited by the prospect of connecting with distant relatives - especially on Mum's side of the family, whom I presume we get our wicked sense of humour from!!!

Thanks to Tamara (Inkredible) for highlighting one major error in a previous post.

Apparently a boob job only costs between $8 000 and $10 000. Not the $50 000 I reported.

Thank you Tamara. Where would I be without you?????

Off to scrap with Ngaire B today. woohoooo!!

brighter and buoyant....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I scrapped...therefore

I'm feeling nourished.

Amazing what a bit of "me time" can do for one's soul.

Sandie's sketch over at Bon's cybercrop.

I've just looked at Charm's challenge and have the photo for that too and some great ideas for Rainer's teachers' xmas/thankyou gifts.

Ask and ye shall receive....except for thinner thighs. I have to work on those!! No magic tape available..yet...heehee!!

He was piling toy soldiers onto James. I said to him, "oh no! What happened?" which is what I normally say, very dramatically.

He looks at me.....
Looks back at the toys.......
Looks back at me and says,

"a crash"

HOLY MOLEY!! Nearly fell off my chair, nearly cried, but thought that might confuse the poor child. He understood a question!!!! That's HUGE in Rainer/ASD-land!

a noun and a pronoun.....that was the pre-diagnosis Rainer....before it all went pear-shaped.....a hint of satisfying.

However, in true Rainer style, he wasn't so forthcoming with the answers the next time we did it. Oh well, it was SOMETHING!!!!!

And I'm again, NOURISHED!

Hey, that might be my word for 2009!! WHAT DO YOU THINK????

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Some 40th photos

Theme: Arabian Nights
Place: Cafe Tara
Date: Saturday 15th November 2008

Here's the best shot so far I have of my outfit. The costume hire lady just had it arrive from India. The colour was PERFECT!!

I have LOTS of hollywood tape and that adhesive bra stuff holding me "in"!! Someone suggested that perhaps I had gone to the states for a boob job!!!! I could find a million better things to spend $50K on.....sheez! Don't need a boob job when you have a "Bras n Things" store close by!!

Louise copied the colours and pattern from invite for the cake. It's double moist dark chocolate cake, covered in white chocolate!! THAT'S why we're all standing up LOL.

Still have a slab of it in the freezer!
Who wants to come over for cake???????? pmsl

It was a fantastic, humid, early night for everyone. Wish I had more time to get around to everyone (boohoo). I'm hoping to have a little (cough cough) celebration just for my birthday....but it won't happen until probably February next year.

The curse of being born 27th December!!!!
(but it means I get to celebrate it lots of little times - heehee)

More photos when I can grab Michael's camera.

I'm sorting through some photos and now I'm a little inspired to do some serious scrapping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

brighter and buoyant.....

Monday, 24 November 2008

Cara's Baby Shower

Lovely afternoon on Sunday at St Lucia Golf Club for Cara's Baby Shower. Last time I was there, Michael and I were hosting our Wedding Reception!! WOW, time flies.

Here's the beautiful Mumma...

I'm so excited and nervous for her (for reasons I don't need to publish here). Bub is due on MY BIRTHDAY!! How exciting. Don't know exactly how Capricorn works on boys though. I don't think I know any!!

I got a leave pass on Saturday and packed my Tote and ran away to Inkredible. Let's just say this Mumma was suffering from sensory overload.......

*tree mulchers....still!
*emergency vehicles with their noisy reversing lights....still!
*Rainer tugging on my right wrist...still! (I'm buying a sweat band...seriously, it's that bad!)

I needed to get away and make these Thank You Cards in a couple of hours because the storm and clean up mucked up my perfectly planned week - don't you just hate that???

Here's what I managed to do and presented them in a Maya Road tin (the perfect size) wrapped in "frankie" paper. What's "frankie", I hear you ask???? More on that later. (yes, I tease)

I will make more over the next months and just mail them to her. Even probably do birth announcements, or whatever she wants.

I still have a mountain of photos from our 40th to sort through. That will be next post.

And went to the Beyond Recruitment Christmas Party last Wednesday night. Love being around Mike and Sara. It was at Gold Class "Quantum of Solace" 007 double-oh-heaven!!! I reckon Daniel Craig is just one accent away from looking like a thug in the next Guy Ritchie movie!! Very cool. A "must-see".

I had a horrible night tonight. Bon's CC was on and I was looking forward to catching up with all the girlies, but there was just too much to do here first (and look, I'm still up).

Oooooh boy!! Always too much to do and not enough for MOI!! Getting a little freaked out but looking forward to a new year, Rainer in school, Mackinley another year older, maybe the house started....

ah the possibilities!!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Anatomy of a Storm

Hello cruel world!

Our crappy weatherboard house survived. Many of our friends' houses didn't.

The storm that really never arrives at The Gap, finally did. The Gap residents often look sky-ward at those menacing dark clouds, rolling in from Mt Glorious and Mt Nebo and instinctively know that they will amount to little, if any, rain.

We're accustomed to the frustration of hearing lots of rumbling, seeing the landscape change into that eery, high contrast colour, when clouds go green. Then we watch as the clouds travel over the range and dump with some fury in the next suburbs.


We were happily swimming at Taylor Range on Sunday afternoon....

all the Mums were sitting, looking up and you could tell we were all thinking the same thing, "Nah, not today." We had to drop some eskies back to the Watts at Bardon, when it began to rain really heavily. I urged Michael to pack everyone back into the car and go home so I could start dinner.

Driving back to The Gap, the rain and wind just got stronger. I started to worry. It was absolutely pelting down when we got home (5 min drive) and Rainer was playing in the front yard, in the rain (his favourite thing to do) before I hauled his backside in the house. Luck for all of us, we got inside when we did.

The NOISE was unbelievable!! We quickly unplugged everything and closed the windows, which we rarely do as we have hopper windows, got the boys in the bathroom and waited......................

for it all to pass....................

finally being able to open our front doors (I really thought we were going to have glass everywhere)

and surveying the damage - luckily not much and our crappy asbestos roof is still in pristine condition (damn shame that!!)
Blew the shed door completely off....

Gian and Andrew's palm tree in our front yard. Actually saw it fall from my craft room window!!!!

And a branch from another of their trees, snapped and fell onto the little bit of awning over our porch.

We spent the rest of Sunday, all of Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday clearing trees and fixing tarps; getting eskies and ice; borrowing a camping stove to cook meals; and finally buying a generator on Tuesday.

The up-side????

I knew our neighbours were jewels, but now I know they are priceless and wonderful. We really came together and shared what we had so that we didn't rely too much on emergency services. Cook-ups, coffee, wine, beer, lots of laughter and exchanging of mobile phone numbers -- they are now indispensable in any future "significant weather event" (LOL love that phrase!!)

The roads have opened once again; the landscape here has changed! We now have City Views and can see houses along the ranges I never knew existed. Mum and Nena came on Friday and restocked my fridge and helped get the house back in order, Nena took Mackinley to Southbank in the afternoon, which he LOVED. He'd been stuck with me all week as St Peter Chanel was badly damaged, as was Rainer's C&K.

I'm thankful that no-one in The Gap died this week from the storm, although someone had a heart attack today driving Waterworks Rd. I'm thankful for all the volunteer fire and rescue who did the initial assessments, for the Gold Coast Energex boys who worked along our street and outside my bedroom window until 3am, garbage collection which is happening every day this week, SES, army, Kate Jones, Geraldine Knapp (didn't think I'd ever THANK politicians LOL), both these women are staunch community people and love The Gap, my electrician (the beautiful Mick) who came as soon as I called, and so many more nameless personnel.

I'm soooo relieved it's over, but we might be getting another storm tonight. We lost power on Thursday night for about a minute and Mackinley was TERRIFIED. Here's hoping God spares us yet again.

Thanks to all my friends who have checked up on me. It makes me cry when I think of how it COULD have turned out. Maybe I need the Denver holiday to recharge because God knew this storm was coming???? He works in mysterious ways.

brighter (soggier) and buoyant...

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Denver Update #2 (lonnnngg!!)

  • Yes, it's late, but BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.....!!!

    I was actually wondering where I'd find the time this week to come back to BLOG-LAND (or should that be BOG-LAND...funny girl M!!) but Rainer has put himself to bed tonight so I have time up the sleeve of my sleeve-less summer top!!

    MONDAY (3 November)
    Another cafe near the Denver Office was callled The French Press. Again, Americans are clueless when it comes to PORTION CONTROL - a "small" coffee and a yummy breakfast sandwich....

All over Denver we saw people with their "I VOTED" stickers, because you can vote early and I can tell you, they needed to. The voting "form" was about 4 pages long. If you thought Australian ballot papers were a pain, you HAVE to see one of theirs. They vote on the President, Senator, Ammendments to the Constitution, Court Judges, School District Supervisors, and the list goes on...............

I will NEVER complain about my ballot paper again!!!

The strangest restrictions on who can and can't vote exist here. The most confusing one is that you can't vote if you've ever spent time in prison....NEVER, EVER!!! Fancy having done your time, you get out and then realise you haven't a say for the REST OF YOUR LIFE on how your country is managed?????

"Liberty and Justice for All"????????? me-thinks NOT.

At least in Australia, we let them have THAT right, once they're out of prison.

One cab driver was very amused when he learned that it's compulsory to vote in Australia, and if you don't, you get fined, and if you don't pay your fine, you go to jail....but we let you back out again, so you can vote next time LOL!!!


Don't you????


At home, I have one tree in my street that "turns" each autumn. In Denver, they're EVERYWHERE!!! I enjoyed kicking through the leaves, but not too much. I was mostly on my own, and that may have looked a little kooky - haha!!

Met the other Denver Wives for lunch - Lindsay (originally from South Africa) and Anna (originally from Indonesia). We went to MiMi's - great food and great conversation. Three migrant women (okay, well I was visiting) talking of the successes and failures of relocating to another country for your husband's career. A real eye-opener!

The weather has been quite mild, but now I feel the chill.

BARAK OBAMA WINS and I stay up late waiting for the verdict. Watching THE DAILY SHOW and the COLBERT REPORT have been very comforting. I suspect THE CHASER boys took a lot from these clever men for their shows.

John McCain's speech was memorable (must get transcript) and he seems like a really decent man. He will have to be good to his wife now, she bank-rolled much of his campaign!!!

The the Obama speech (must get transcript). I can see how excited Americans must be having such a charismatic, articulate, intelligent leader after many decades in the wilderness. Lots of crying in the audience, only recongnised Jesse Jackson and Oprah (does this woman ever sleep???).

Fantastically moving and inspiring and aspirational!!!!

WEDNESDAY 5 November
Bumped into Anna at Kona and had a good chat. Organised to meet tomorrow (my last day) for brunch at Cafe Bisque.

Finally stopped for some pampering at Aura. They do facials differently. Was put off when I walked out with product still drying on my face!!! Ran up to the room and showered and then crashed until Michael's FRANTIC call. I hadn't turned my mobile on and Prava was wanting to take me out. Ooops.

Took the bus Downtown again and to Cali & Mo for some Anne Taintor goodies and a divine bracelet

but here is most of the "stash" from the 3 weeks of Michael's soujourn.

I think I did well????

Would love to return to Denver in a couple of years, and bring the boys this time. Lots of outdoor activities in Denver - it's that kind of town. Fit, happy people and probably the only state where the men look really good - LOL, sorry babe!!

Lovely spending evenings alone with my husband. Wish I had a playmate for the days, but that's minor compared to the TEN YEARS of missed sleep that I caught up on. On Monday, one of Rainer's teachers said I looked 5 years younger (we love Brigitte!!).

We arrived in Brisbane early Saturday morning, taxi'd home and showered, unpacked some presents and drove to Nena's. I don't think anyone could have prepared me for the expressions on the boys' faces when they saw us. Absolutely priceless, made me cry (a little - didn't want to confuse them) and the most deeply emotional experience EVER.

Busy getting the boys off to school.
Making yoghurt (the coconut milk yoghurt didn't turn out; have goat's milk yoghurt fermenting right now!)

ORGANISING OUR 40TH which is this Saturday.
Got a babysitter (thanks Nicola)
Got the cake (thanks to my friends, the Thorpe's LOOK HERE who also did our wedding cake and the boys' Baptism cakes)

It's been "sheet changing" weather in Brisbane but rain has settled in at night time to cool things off slightly (phew).
Looking for a costume tomorrow. Always leave ME till last!!

Next post will be 40th stuff. Can't wait for the costumes everyone comes in!!!!

Thanks for sticking around this long and leaving lovely messages while I've been trapsing around Denver xx

No idea when I'll get my desk clean enough again to scrap.......

brighter and buoyant

Monday, 3 November 2008


Can you believe we found a cafe/deli that makes food just like Australians??? It's called Bisque and it's next door to Kona - how lucky!! Good food and coffee one block away!! And they make Lavender Honey, so I bought 4 jars of it for the family - too yummy.

Here's Michael in front of the Pepsi Centre (technically, it's spelt "center" LOL). It's about 4.30pm, we just picked up our tickets and on our way to Brooklyn's across the road. This very famous/cool pub everyone goes to before/after the game. The Broncos were still playing at Invesco Field not far away, so this precinct was really buzzing today.

We almost instantly began talking to this lovely woman, named Dallas. Amazingly talented and warm and loves to travel.

Her hubby was at the Broncos game and joined us just before we left for the Avalanches game. We'll be staying in touch. Just love making connections that just seem so effortless and comfortable.

So the Avalanches......lost unfortunately :( - and so did the Broncos x(

But I am hooked on NHL. Of all the typically American sports, this is the best. Loads of action, fast-paced with a bit of biff-o thrown in. We ate some classic "concession" food

and it's still holding down LOL.

It was a great weekend, but Michael has to go back to work tomorrow. It's been great just hanging around with my darling husband. I kinda remember why I liked him in the first place!!!

Now I have to find someplace like West End in Denver, so I can buy some local art/craft that's more affordable that what I've seen so far.

Loving it here, but also looking forward to coming home.

Thanks for dropping by!!
(p.s. you're going to LOVE what happens in "Dexter" - hahaha!!)

Greetings from Denver!

Well, it's already Sunday here and tonight we're off to an ice hockey match between the Colorado Avalance and San Jose Sharks, Downtown at the Pepsi Centre. I'll try and nab some photos of the human carnage LOL!!

But back to the beginning of this US adventure....

The flight from Brisbane to LA was unreal. The plane was half full and I had 3 seats to myself - very nice, thank you! It's been ages since I flew Qantas where they give you EVERYTHING - pillow, blanket, eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bag, lunch, dinner, breakfast, drinks. I felt perfectly spoilt. I managed a sleep somewhere over the International Date Line.

Movies are free too. Watch "Sex and the City" and laughed (on the inside) and cried. Such a good movie.

Even developed a little cartoon character that I'm going to submit to a competition run in a fab new magazine I bought in Brisbane called "Frankie". One of the most refreshing mags in ages.

Anyhoo, yucky 6 hour layover in LA. I think that was the most tiring part of the journey. Then slept on the flight from LA to Denver. The cab ride from DIA to Lakewood cost about usd90 and was horribly long, into the setting sun

Devner? High altitude and FLAT!! Really, really flat. Surrounded by the most magnificent mountains though. I have to keep remembering to look the OTHER way when crossing the road, but then I get confused by which was is the right way - does that make sense??? pmsl

Had time for a shower at the Sheraton before Michael comes in to take me out to meet the gang at the local grill - Chad's. HUGE portions. Forgot that about the US. Ridiculous servings of food - and the tipping, and the tax that's NOT included on the ticket price. Ouch. So much to get into trouble with.

Woke at midday on Saturday and went to Kona's next door. The only place that knows how to make coffee that isn't that crappy brewed stuff. Dave told me how to order a Macchiato in "U.S. speak", so now I'm okay LOL.

Took the number 16 bus Downtown to 16th Street Mall which is like the Queen Street Mall but with a bus running up and down it. Found a fantastic vintage store called Cali & Mo. Bought a fabulous, one-of-a-kind ring made by a local disabled artist. Going back next week to try on some vintage frocks. Yay!!

Caught the peak hour number 16 which was very colourful and busy. A local told me public transport usage had quadrupled since the oil/financial crisis. It's too expensive to buy petrol. It's about $2.40/gallon.

Dinner at 320 Union, next door. It was Halloween so the staff was dressed. The food was good, but again HUGE portions.

It's Saturday, and the breakfast at Kona's is good but you can really smell the chemicals in the food. That's different!!! We get picked up by Raja and Prava who drive us to Vail.


There's no snow, but you can really imagine how majestic and magical this place would be, especially with the kids. Lunch at Pepi's - a german restaurant/hotel - and the food was great. It's Michael's mission to try every micro-brew in Colorado. He's doing great so far LOL.

After some souvenier shopping and the purchase of a gorgeous necklace from a local artist, they drove us to an outlet centre and I bought a new handbag, wallet and shoulder bag from Coach.

Then they took us to Polo outlet and I bought a jumper. Apparently it's going to snow on Wednesday!!

We decided to eat in last night but we have free pay TV (a novelty for us). Watching so much cool stuff not in Australia yet (like Dexter, some Law & Order, etc - haha, not telling ANYTHING!!) and "Casino Royale" again in preparation for the James Bond/XMas function for Beyond coming up.

I have more details in my journal, but there's the bare bones of it.

More to explore next week. I have 4 more days to cram into Denver.

The boys are doing well at home. Rainer's being a delight, and Mackinley and Joe are just about velcroed to each other!! It's making me relax more.

Back in a couple of days!! Hope all my cyber-chikkies are well {mwah}.

good-bye from the Mile-High City....