Saturday, June 23, 2012

Five years

G'day all!

Five years ago today we moved to the States for the first time.  Five years ago.  23rd June 2007.  I was so terrified of living so far from home, Nathan was so excited by the whole thing.


For a brief, glorious time, we were honorary Coloradoans.  We lived in Fort Collins at the foot of the Front Range of the Rockies. I remember wandering around the first few days, jetlagged and weirded out, probably by altitude (it's about a mile high).

I knew of three bloggers who lived there or in the surrounding areas (and ahem, I really should go visit their blogs, see what is happening at the moment).  I met them and it was good - none of us turned out to be axe-wielding maniacs.


Odd how it was that DH struggled more than me.  I was not at work, not doing Important Things.  I tooled around on my bike and we occasionally hired a car which I'd drive up into the Rockies.  The weather was warm (ok hot :-), we had quite a number of thunderstorms, the creek at the bottom of the hill flooded twice (so exciting!) and I settled into a summer that never seemed to end until... DH got laid off in a 20% budget cut.


Sigh.  Plus I still regret losing six weeks of amazing pictures that we took, including all the ones of the Trail Ridge Road and Rollins Pass.  Double sigh.

I cried when we left Colorado, partly because I really liked living by a creek and playing with the crawdads, partly because I would miss the thunderstorms and sunsets, and partly because I wanted to stay.  I was only just getting the hang of Colorado.


Luckily DH had already lined up a new job in California, so we got to go to Canada (huh?) to get new visas and experience Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, Vancouver, Victoria (on Vancouver Island, where I discovered I have a cousin), Edmonton, the Great Plains and then Toronto and surrounds in December.


So fast forward to two years in San Jose, where summer never seemed to end.  Sunny and warm if not outright hot.  Winters had some dismal days but 330 days of the year are sunny there so....


And we made friends and settled down and things were good.  We travelled around and saw Yosemite (twice, in winter and in summer):

and drove all the way to the Grand Canyon and Utah, plus in a different trip the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone:

The second year we were there we travelled to Europe in conjunction with a conference Nathan went to, so I visited France, Germany, Austria (briefly) and Switzerland.


The GFC (global financial crisis, not Geelong Football Club) meant DH's job disappeared and we went back home to Melbourne and our own little house (after we gave our tenants a generous two month warning rather than the 14 days we could've put on them).   I cried when we left California.

And it was crappy because Nathan couldn't find a new job and I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Five months of heavy duty chemotherapy, an operation and six weeks of radiotherapy.  Not my best year but I was done with treatment by November.  Whilst we tried to renovate the house on a budget of about zero dollars - we had been living on the US job's payout but that didn't last that long and $200 a fortnight in sickness benefits doesn't pay for much.

Nathan got a job just after my op and was off to Sydney, 800km from home whilst I was still in treatment, so we lived apart for months and what a disaster that was!  I moved to Sydney and things slowly got better in some ways and worse in others.


Finally this Amazon job showed up just when Nathan had had enough of the problems at his old job and suddenly we were off to the Pacific Northwest.

Three intercontinental moves in five years.  Two interstate moves.  One serious illness.  It sure has been one helluva ride!

I do admit, I would be quite pleased if things slowed down for a while.  Some have described my job role as army wife, but at least I don't have to worry about deployments and will my husband be blown up or shot.... and I certainly have gotten to see more of the world than I might've.  I won't be displeased if it continues.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

So shiny and blue

G'day all!

I really need to get better pictures, but I think this would almost qualify as a wordless Wednesday if I manged to say nothing.  And if it were Wednesday here yet.  But it is back 'ome so here goes:



Thursday, June 07, 2012

Attack of the giant carp

G'day all!

(The subject line is NOT a typo, I assure you.  I would not share such things with you, dear readers....unless it was a ROFLMAO story.)

I was happily minding my own business  (actually I was going to take care of some business) up at the local nursery when these
The horror
flung themselves at me.

Mouths agape, their colours flaring, they rushed at me, threatening to gum me to death.  More joined the pack, some pushing themselves out of the water in excitement.
Even more horror

Y'know if they had been able to walk on land, I would've been afraid because they looked mighty hungry.  As it was, most of those fish are big enough that I could've stuck my finger in their mouth.  I was tempted...

The other day, I found out something I thought is quite interesting.  Actually two things.

a)  I have Darwin's Tubercle.  Yay!  I have pointy ears, only the points are inwards, not outwards.  This almost completes my inner 15 year old's dream of being a Vulcan.

b) Not only is my "duck foot" called Morton's Toe (which I knew about), it is also associated with various foot, ankle, knee and back problems, and explains a whole lot about why I am so bad at things like running and wearing high heels, and sometimes even just walking.  Since it is genetic, I'd love to know who I got it from but there is noone left on my Mum's side and I only have cousins (and they are dropping off the twig) on my father's side.  I guess I'll have to ask my siblings, see if they remember anything.  Anyway, it is nice to know it was considered "beautiful" by classic sculptors.  However, anyone who says Morton's Toe is associated with slender feet has not seen my feet.  I have a good grip on the ground, well I would if I didn't have Morton's Toe on both feet...  I certainly can walk on sand more easily than DH who has tiny feet for a man his size.

The world of craft moves slowly.  I have now sewn on half the buttons on my new cardigan, the one I "finished" in April.  Pretty pathetic, eh?  My new new cardigan is still embryonic after I decided maybe working on the sleeves would be a better idea than laboriously casting on 200-odd stitches and then discovering I was 10 or 20 over the number I needed even though I carefully swatched.  I am starting to wonder if I am using 4.5mm needles rather than 4s.  You would not think that 0.5mm in diameter would make such a difference but it can.  I have one sock plus a half a foot of the next.  It looks like I might be making another pair of socks - unusual for me.

I am waiting on a new 1/4" foot for the sewing machine so that I can sew the new quilt blocks together.  It is a granny square quilt and looks pretty funky.  Three of the squares are very funky indeed and are being held back for the backing as they are, cough, not exactly square and are resisting being square.  I would run off and get a pic of it all unsewn together - we have enough floor space for me to lay things out now!!! - but it has decided to be miserable and grey here again today.  At least it cleared yesterday enough for me to ride part way to Nathan's work, then do some more shopping.  ahem.  At least most of the shopping relates to plants or food - once I've repotted all the baby plants I have, I'll show you my balcony garden in progress.  Assuming it ever stops raining.  Rain is a Good Thing but you can have too much of it.  I have been promised that the dry season will hit eventually, and am hoping that it won't be long because cloud and under 15C when it is supposed to be getting along to 20C and higher is a bit tedious.

This week's flowers
Each week at the farmers' market, I buy some flowers from a man named Jan.  He has different flowers, mostly ones that I have never seen before.  The iris are familiar but he has amazing alliums and bulbs and plants I am just not familiar with (which offends my sensibilities because I am a bit of a plant nuffy).  Sometimes I cannot even identify the family of the plants.  This week, though, alliums, irises and something in the ranunculus family, a Trollius.  Alas, the irises have now all faded but the alliums and Trollius are going strong.  I thought the contrast between the fairly dull purples and the bright bright orange was stunning, and it made the mauves look so much brighter :-)